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Ultralight Hiking

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Kintail Burn, Dusky Track,Fiordland, NZ 2012 Six Moon Designs ‘Swift’ pack @ 450 grams


WARNING to ‘snowflakes’. This is a Conservative Blog. It will cause upset and offence to ‘sensitive souls’. Reading it may cause dangerous thoughts and emotions to arise in you. Read on…


19/05/2017: She’s Buried Chest High:


19/05/2017: Antarctic Flights from $1199: Well $1999 if you want a better view, but really not bad for the visual feast of a lifetime. I know it’s a lot of money to spend for a 12 hour flight where you end up right back in Melbourne where you began, but ‘you can’t take it with you’, and it is unlikely you will be trudging across the icy wastes in pursuit of Scott and Amundsen. Della has already put her hand up for a flight when I find that tiny pot of gold I buried in the backyard some time – perhaps sooner:


19/05/2017: Tony Abbott says there is “no doubt the 2014 budget was the gold standard in terms of budget repair and economic reform”. Well, he is not quite right Arthur Fadden’s gazumped him utterly by doing it all in one year. Still and all, our country won’t wait another year before we begin to heal ourselves from the looming disaster of becoming another Greece!


19/05/2017: Glowing plants (eg to replace street lights). I think this is a really cool idea and would like some seeds. Della would definitely want the glowing rose, I’m sure. Of course there will be many leftist nutjobs who oppose all genetic modification (no doubt even if it saves their own life – well, duh!) who will be horrified at the idea, but ‘Go suck!’ guys:

18/05/2017: Wings and Water: My favourite airline operates out of Te Anau Fiordland, New Zealand I have flown in to or back from Supper Cove a number of times, so I have a collection of snaps which will maybe whet your appetite to the visual delights in store. It is almost impossible to take really good photos through a plane’s windows (as I’m sure you know), but these will give you some idea of the magnificence of Fiordland from the air. Some of the beautiful views I have experienced from their plane over the years:

Their pilot, Kylie ready to take you on the flight of your life at the lake’s edge, Te Anau.

Here is their plane at beautiful Supper Cove, Dusky Sound. The DOC hut is just a few steps up the path behind the plane.

And here it is taking off at Supper Cove

View of the Fiord

How steep the edges of the fiords are - notice all the fuschia regrowth (light green): this is a favourite moose food.

View of supper Cove Hut from the air.

Me at Supper Cove.

Leaving Supper Cove - view down the fiord.

A little further down the fiord.

Loch Marie - hut in centre.

Wet Jacket Arm.

Lake Manapouri.


Tarns in one of the passes probably Pillans.

Just look at this patch of fuschia regrowth - how many moose could such feed support? And how hard would it be to ever see one?


Probably Doubtful Sound.

These new slips will regrow with Fuschia. Moose can travel around these steep sides, but I doubt you or I can!

Look at this wonderful perched lake. So many beautiful secret spots in Fiordland where no man's foot has ever trod.

Fiord after fiord after fiord.

Those mountains are certainly steep.

Looking up the Seaforth River, Supper Cove.

Trampers Transport : Supper Cove - Dusky Track. Take the easy way to the Dusky Track at 9am daily. Fly from Te Anau to Supper Cove or return. They can also ferry stores to and from Supper Cove. Duration: 30 Minutes flight time approximately - $330.00 per person (2017).

They also do a range of wonderful ‘joy’ or scenic flights. There are numerous places they can take you into the Fiordland National Park. Fancy a bit of hunting or maybe you are joining a cruise somewhere in the fiords - let them take you there!

Here are just some of their destinations: Blanket Bay (Doubtful Sound), Bligh Sound, Breaksea Sound, Caswell Sound, Chalky Inlet, Charles Sound, Charles Sound – Helipad, Dagg Sound, Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound / Supper Cove, Dusky Sound / Cascade / Luncheon, Earshell Cove, George Sound, Glade House, Te Anau Downs to Glade House, Glasinoch River, Gorge Burn, Junction Burn Hut, Lake Alabaster, Lake Hakapoua, Lake Hankinson, Lake Hauroko, Lake McIvor, Lake McKerrow, Lake Manapouri, Lake Marchant, Lake Mavora, Lake Monowai, Lake Poteriteri, Lake Rakatu, Lake Wapiti, Lake Wilmot, Long Sound, Martins Bay, Milford Sound, Nancy Sound, Preservation Inlet, Stewart Island, Sutherland Sound,Te Anau Downs, West Arm, Wet Jacket Arm, Worsley Arm,,Queenstown.

18/05/2017: Worldwide, forests are booming – due to CO2 fertilisation. Up 25%+:


18/05/2017: Food for thought: ‘It's a fact that the earth, right now, is about as cold as it has ever been in the past half-billion years…the Eemian Interglacial… lasted around 15,000 years, beginning about 130,000 years ago…The Hippopotamus was distributed as far north as the rivers Rhine and Thames…Trees grew as far north as southern Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago instead of only as far north as Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec, and the prairie-forest boundary in the Great Plains of the United States lay further west — near Lubbock, Texas, instead of near Dallas, Texas, where the boundary now exists:,-with-the-Hippos-of-Britain.html

17/05/2017: Water from thin air: A New Dehumidifier: This device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun. It is still a long way off being available, but it may someday make long desert journeys much more possible:Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun...

The prototype, under conditions of 20-30 percent humidity, was able to pull 2.8 liters (3 quarts) of water from the air over a 12-hour period, using one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of MOF. Rooftop tests at MIT confirmed that the device works in real-world conditions.'

Read more at:

  Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun


 - Dilbert by Scott Adams


17/05/2017: Your ABC: Is having a loving family an unfair advantage? How Left is this- and should we have to pay for it? Shades of Harrison Bergeron:

17/05/2017: Well said: ‘A balanced budget is not necessarily good. Most of the dreary comrade societies aimed at a balanced budget – ‘We take 100% of your income and spend it all’. There is only one tax on the people and that is government spending. The treasurer needs to slash that big tax. All else is flummery.’ Viv Forbes.

16/05/2017: Hiking Crayfish Bisque

First catch your crayfish...Once again here's a delicious soup to cook in the wild after you have been doing a spot of fishing. Naturally it uses only dried, concentrated and lightweight ingredients. I based it on a traditional bisque recipe we have eaten for years but with ultralight ingredients. My tastes run to peppery and my wife is a lover of tomato flavour, so at just these proportions the dish may be a little intense for you (or not enough), so you can play with the proportions a bit until you get it just right. I hope you enjoy it.

To 1 Litre of water add:

10 teaspoons of milk powder (add cold and stir in - it mixes better)

1 x 40 gram packet Continental French Onion Soup (NB low salt is good)

1-2 50 gram sachets of tomato puree (to taste)

1-2 small cubes or teaspoons of chicken stock

1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)

1 Teaspoon (to taste) of sweet paprika.

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Bring to the boil. Simmer 3-4 minutes Stir oiccasionally. Add:

200 gram can of shrimp (if you don't have a cray) A 100 gram can of tuna will do in a pinch!

1 x 85 gram packet of Magi 2 minute noodles well broken up (into 1 cm lengths)

Simmer a further 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.


For other hiking food ideas, try a search for 'food' in the search bar at the top right hand corner of the page.

See Also:

If you enjoyed this post and would like to make a small donation to the upkeep of this page, you can do so by clicking the PayPal button below. Even a small amount would be appreciated.

16/05/2017: So, they just discovered 5 million square kilometers of extra forests no-one had noticed before: that’s more than half an Australia. Pretty hard to miss:

16/05/2017: Tim Blair is right. The Budget was all about Malcolm, and Malcolm (and it) must go! & I do think it has to be Abbott, otherwise the Liberals are finished. Morrison has tarnished his image fatally by his ‘association’ with Turnbull.

16/05/2017: How Lucky Can You Get: Gllard draws her own ticket in Mercedes Benz raffle:

15/05/2017: A Ball of String and a Feed of Cray: Once you have your feed of trout (See Below) you will have some heads, tails, fins etc left over. Now you have your cray bait for the next course! All you need to catch them is a bit of string. I have wound 50lb line on my ultralight hand line (because it was what I had lying around) – it would cast a lot further still with lighter line. Certainly though, a few 3-4 metre lengths of this is all you need to catch a feed of crays. You might need to mark the location of your lines with some tiny pieces of fluoro tape as this Dyneema line will be very hard to see.

If I am vehicle camping, as in the photo, I usually use a length of fluoro ‘builder’s line’ because it is hard to miss in the bush. When I am in the camper, I also have a small folding trout landing net with an extendable handle. It is very good for scooping them out. If you are lightweight hiking you will have to make use of a forked stick to pin them down, and maybe get your feet wet as well as you wade in to pick them up just behind the claws (as shown) – but the feed of crays will be worth it. NB: You cannot kiss a cray – definitely don’t try this at home! When there are lots of them on the move (they are easy to see particularly if you have polarising lenses) you can often just walk along the side of a shallow stream and just pin them down with a forked stick. I have sometime caught half a dozen in this way in a few minutes!

 They can grow to quite a size, as you can see! I am going to pretend my eyes are closed as I am dreaming of the Lobster Bisque in the next post, but I was just not ready for Della to take the snap, and in the next one, the cray was blurred from too much wriggling.

All you need to do is tie something smelly (like the fish heads) to one end of the line. I often use chicken necks because they are cheap and easy to tie on a line. Here and there along the bank in the vicinity of overhangs or upstream from logs, drop a bait into the water then tie the other end of the line to a branch. Don’t leave enough slack so the cray can pull the bait underneath his log as you may not be able to pull him out with it. Go have a cup of tea or something more refreshing, then come back in say half an hour. In most mountain rivers in Victoria there will be a cray on the end of the line, indicated by its having grown taut.

Very, very slowly without jerking pull the cray towards you until you can observe him. You need to be patient. He is greedy and doesn’t want to let go of his prize, but he will if you are foolish. You need to get him to where you can quietly scoop him from behind (or give him a little slack and he will back into your net). Or, if you only have a forked stick, you need to slowly move it from behind him until you can deftly pin him to the bottom just behind the claws. Then you can step into the river whilst holding him immobile and pick him up with the other hand.Watch those claws. They could almost sever a finger!

There are not so many about in the winter as they are less active. The old saw was that as soon as the wattle was on the water, they would be ready to bite. You can keep them in a bag in a cool place for hours, or tether them to a sapling with a length of string. I brought a bag back from deer hunting once (so they are about even in winter!) put them in the fridge in a supermarket bag for at least a week. When I remembered them, I was surprised they were all alive and ready to bite me!

There is a gender, size and number limit you must conform to if you don’t want to incur a penalty – and you want them to remain always abundant. If you have a billy large enough  to boil them in, that is the best solution. If you are car camping you will be able to first anaethesise them by adding some salt to the water (The reverse is true of sea crays – fresh water will knock them out). It is heartless to drop them straight into boiling water and is also likely to get you scalded as they will leap!

They only need a very few minutes to cook. Watch the colour. They do not go quite so red as sea crays. If you do not have large billy because you are hiking, you will need to kill them first eg by driving a knife (carefully) through their brain. Then you can just cook the bits with the meat. 1-200 grams of fresh cooked meat will be enough to make the accompanying bisque recipe if you are hiking. This will make them ‘go’ a lot further. There are few things quite so delicious as fresh caught crays, so enjoy!

PS: However, yabbies, their smaller cousins are just as delicious - but you will need more of them, a couple of dozen would be good. Most streams also contain 'ghost shrimp' which are smaller again but a few dozen still make a fine feed. They are very sweet. The method for catching yabbies is the same as for crays. Shrimp will come to all sorts of attractants (eg soap or crushed leaves) and will swarm all over a landing net laid on the stream bottom. Shrimp also make excellent bait for fish - so you can begin again!

See Also:

If you enjoyed this post and would like to make a small donation to the upkeep of this page, you can do so by clicking the PayPal button below. Even a small amount would be appreciated.

14/05/2017: Say ‘Goodbye’ to Global Warming: Dr Fred Singer: ‘During the same decades, quite independently, there was a severe reduction in ‘superfluous’ (mostly) rural stations unless they were located at airports…the number of stations decreased drastically in the 1990’s but the number at airports declined less sharply, leading to a major rise in the fraction of reporting stations at airports…This led to a huge increase, from 35% to 80%, in the fraction of airport weather stations - producing a spurious temperature increase from all the construction of runways and buildings -hard to calculate in detail. About all we can claim is a general increase in air traffic, about 5% per year worldwide…We have however MSU data for the lower atmosphere over both ocean and land; they show little difference; so we can assume that both land data and ocean data contribute about equally to the fictitious surface trend reported for 1977 to 1997. The absence of such a warming trend removes all of IPCC’s evidence for AGW.’

14/05/2017: Quote of the day: Bertrand Russell: ‘The whole conception of a God is a conception derived from the ancient oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.’ ‘Why I Am Not a Christian’: &


13/05/2017: Vargo Titanium Pocket Cleats: Vargo has this lighter traction device for snow and ice slippery clay, etc:  They weigh 2.3 oz 66 grams nearly 1/3rd the weight of the competition so they might find a place in yoiur pack if you are going somewhere slippery. Cost is US$59.95

Ultralight Traction Device


‘Improve speed and traction on winter runs or ultralight hiking with the Vargo Titanium Pocket Cleats™.  The titanium alloy spikes claw into snow and ice yet weigh nearly a third the weight of the competition without reducing strength or durability.  When not in use the legs fold down and nest to easily fit into packs or pockets. Nylon carrying case included. 


Available in three sizes:


Small: Women’s 6.0 – 9

Medium: Women’s 9.5 – 12; Men’s 8.0 – 10.5

Large: Men’s 11 – 13


Note: Pocket Cleats™ will not fit or work well with shoes that have extra-thick soles ("Fat Shoes") or shoes with a non-hourglass shape sole.




Titanium alloy contstruction


Compact folding legs


Reliable Duraflex™ fastners


High strength nylon webbing


Convenient nylon carry case




Weight (medium)     Size Open            Size Closed


2.3 ounces each       5.9"L x 1.8"W       4.3"L x 1.8"W   


(66 grams)                (150 x 45 mm)     (110 x 45 mm)’


See Also:

13/05/2017: Sacked for supporting ‘cultural appropriation’. ‘In my opinion, anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities…I’d go so far as to say there should even be an award for doing so — the Appropriation Prize for best book by an author who writes about people who aren’t even remotely like her or him.’ You know, just like John Steinbeck’s great novelette, ‘Tortilla Flat’ or Xavier Herbert’s ‘Poor Fellow My Country’ & etc. But the ‘thought police’ don’t agree, and are active everywhere. Facebook has also begun banning folks whose views it doesn’t like. The new censorship frankly terrifies me. It is a tyranny perhaps even worse than all the old tyrannies we had clearly identified and spent most of our lives fighting against. It’s power and reach and immediate effect is greater. There is also no sense of what can be done about it. There is no appeal. For example Facebook’s decision is anonymously taken, immediate, permanent, and there is no appeal: Incidentally, we watched Spencer Tracey in the 1942 film ‘Tortilla Flat’ last night. What a great actor he was! It is available from Pirate Bay. The ending (Hollywood!) is different from Steinbeck’s but still, a very satisfying film:

13/05/2017: Censorship has become so rife: I can remember wanting an end to censorship in Australia (this was back in the 60s) because I wanted to read such classics as ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ and ‘Tropic of Cancer’ which I illegally imported. We succeeded. Censorship today has become so nit-picky, it is unbelievable. Soon we will not be able to comment on a white woman wanting to self-identify as a black man for example, yet others can apparently with impunity advocate raping nine year old girls, and indeed do so: & I expect that soon I will not be able to say such things on Facebook (or perhaps anywhere) any more.


13/05/2017: Of course, if you think only Islam is/was extremist, try to remember the evil that was done in this man’s name (ie Jesus & with teachings like this): ‘He who is not with me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters…Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world nor in the world to come…Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell…The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire…If thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched, where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched…If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple…Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life…Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division…For there are eunuchs, that were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it…’ & etc, ad nauseum. Charming fellow. and remember what his approach was to Gadarine swine and fig trees (not to mention money lenders!) this essay by Bertrand Russell (‘Why I Am Not a Christian’) ought almost to be compulsory reading. Anyway, give it a try: &

12/05/2017: East Tyers Walking Track: I spent six hours yesterday working on clearing some of this excellent track which had been long neglected and overgrown. Apparently there were six other people doing the same, though I never saw them, which indicates you can have a lovely solitary experience on the track. It connects O'Shea's Mill to Caringal Scout camp and thus comprises an interesting addition to the Upper Yarra Track Winter route - see:

I have (roughly) cleared the first third of it - starting from Caringal, but it is marked all the way now with tape, so it needs about two similar days' work to complete the job apparently expected to be done by Spring, but it is now walkable, so the more people walk it (with one of these: over the winter, the less work there will be to do.

I will now investigate re-opening the West Tyers walking track which has been similarly neglected and which links Caringal with Western Tyers/Morgans's Mill and the similar loop from Palmers to Growlers along the Western Tyers - both of which I have walked years ago. They are extraordinary beautiful sections which deserve to be open to everyone - not just the intrepid!

The track begins auspiciously. The track follows an old logging tramway linking bush mills (such as O'Sheas) to Collins siding where the railway ine to Melbourne was. NB: You can also walk along the tramway from Caringal to Collins siding.

There are some lovely stretches if river, somewhere to try this out:

Here's another.

And yet another.

There are some interesting bridges.

Some best avoided. You should never worry about getting your feet wet:

Some beautiful timber.

Mountain ash are magnificent - you can see why they were logging along here in the past.

An interesting geological formation.

It will be such a splendid track when the clearing is quite finished - and even better when it links both to Collins siding (Erica) and to Western Tyers (Morgans Mill) and beyond eg to Tanjil Bren and Newlands Rd so that a circuit of the Baw Baws can be had. Well, it already can. See below:

12/05/2017: Dude I want that: Dude I want that... Indeed! This is not strictly ‘ultralight’, but I just thought you might nonetheless like this amazing gift site -at least the 'outdoors' section. If you have perhaps become jaded by the pedestrian offerings of your local outdoors store, check out some of these amazing products:  Here’re ten of my favourites:

Banana Lounger

Onegee Bungee

Onak Foldable Canoe

Swim Fingers

Folding Survival Bow

Pocket Bellows:



Pocket Cleats:

Thermal Breaching Tool:

Gazebox retractable garage:

12/05/2017: The Delusion of Free Money: Who’s Invest in a Country Led by Bank Robbers? That’s the first problem. The second is the utterly bizarre belief that banks would not have to put up their fees to fund this – meaning that it is just another example of taxation by stealth, just like inflation and ‘bracket creep’ – which alone is delivering nearly $100 billion over the forward estimates! Do you still remember when Peter Costello used to actually balance the budget, Australia had no debt and the government could return people’s money to them via tax cuts? This is not a Liberal government. It is not even a sensible government. Turnbull must go!  &

12/05/2017: Couple Marry on Everest: `It is a really catchy headline and image isn’t it - and a great idea? A friend of mine noticed a wee bit of Photoshopping but s/he was being pedantic. I suppose the next ‘logical’ step is for folks to marry on the summit of Everest where they could quickly combine the two important ceremonies (ie marriage and funeral) into one –if there was any celebrant foolish enough to accompany them! See:

For info on how to do this in an ultralight manner see eg: 

12/05/2017: Touche: ‘I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not ‘greed’ to want to take somebody else’s money,’ Thomas Sowell.


12/05/2017: Has the Amount of Carbon Dioxide Changed Significantly Since the Beginning of the Twentieth Century? Giles Slocum Monthly Weather Review October 1955:

11/05/2017: The Ultralight Fisherman: Today is using a 1 oz (30 gram - including a selection of flies and leaders) hand line made from a 100 ml plastic 'spice'  bottle which easily and accurately casts 30 - 40 metres - as you can see! A pill bottle of roughly the same size  though slightly heavier, would work just as well. I tried an empty Nurofen bottle, for example. Another half an ounce or so would add a couple of lures, hooks, split shot, etc suitable for bait fishing as well. (This particular bottle is 14 gram 100 ml about 43mm wide and 80mm long and has the advantage you can see through it).

I must stock the repaired farm dam with trout! It already has eels.

Amid the windfall quinces in the garden.

The scales do not lie.

The pink 1 mm Dyneema string is a wrist strap in case you drop your hand line. A dab of silicon around the hole I had to drill to thread it would make it completely waterproof as well. Everything you need fits right in the bottle, in a few mini snap lock bags. You could even take some artificial bait with you.

I went for a walk around to 'The Weir' ( again this afternoon - no fish trying to climb it, alas. It is a very small log-choked stream for fly fishing, but in 2-3 casts I did have a small trout following my fly - unfortunately the stream was too small, so he saw me and headed South. I will be going up the bush sambar deer hunting soon where there are much bigger streams and bigger trout. I will be eating some!

See Also:

Soon to come: 'The Ultralight Deer Hunter'.

11/05/2017:  ‘Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts,’ Richard Feynman


11/05/2017: Some folks are touting this Macron win. As if Marine getting 40% of the vote was meaningless. Meanwhile neither the Republicans nor the Socialists, France’s two ‘Main’ parties got a single vote – in other words 100% of French people voted for someone else. What if that should happen in Australia? Would the ABC just headline that Pauline failed to become PM? The times they are a’changing! It will be interesting to see what happens in the French Parliamentary elections in a couple of months’ time – and how it plays out after that.


10/05/2017: ‘Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.’ Susan Ertz.

10/05/2017: Ultralight Coconut Fish Curry: We found this soup to be just about the most delicious we have ever eaten at home - and we eat a lot of soup, so just imagine how delicious it will be on the trail. Again it uses Continental French Onion Soup as a base and makes use only of dehydrated ingredients (or ingredients which will not leak, or which can be 'caught' on the trail).

1 Litre water

25 grams of Coconut Milk Powder (comes in 50 gram aluminium sachets. You could use the whole sachet)

50 gram sachet Tomato Paste.

40 gram packet of Continental French Onion Soup

2  Teaspoons (Clive Of India) curry powder

1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring to the boil


100 gram sachet Safcol Yellowfin Tuna

16 teaspoons Surprise Peas

Simmer 5 minutes

Add (slowly, stirring as you go) approx 12 Teaspoons Continental Deb Mashed Potato.

Serve and eat. Try this at home. You will be delighted.

PS: My daughter, who is more a coconut than a curry person says, 'Halve the curry and double the coconut'. You might try that if you think your tastes are more that way. If you don't like fish (what?) you might also try the recipe with a can of this: The cans would also be perfect for making a 'Supercat Stove':

See Also:

10/05/2017: The Budget: Debt up (now $600 billion), taxes up, spending up. No clear plan. Surplus to remain four years in the future (so 15 years since the last one). This is a Labor Budget. Fadden turned around a similar disastrous financial situation for Australia back when I was born in one year! &


10/05/2017: We have Malcolm. Meanwhile, Theresa may shows Australian Conservatives the way forward. She has a 22 point lead over Labour! Bring back Tony Abbott:


10/05/2017: Hazelwood Aftermath: This is happening because we have entered a new era of energy madness, shortfall  and rationing. Mark my words, there is worse to come: &

09/05/2017: Invisible Worlds: The Weir: Just around the corner (about 2 km) from our house lies the Billy's Creek, the Morwell National Park, (the start of) a lovely walk (the Grand Stzelecki Track) and just a kilometre up the track and stream this lovely old weir (built in 1913) set amongst majestic blue gums in a lush narrow, steep valley. The weir used to be part of the Morwell Water Supply.

You can see it has a hole in it about 200mm/8" in diameter through which much of the stream flows. The hole has an enchanting history. It was created as an act of anarchy by local farmers who were incensed at how much of their own water supply had been stolen by the Government. A pity moe of us weren't as galvanised by government theft.

The hole is 2.1 metres/7'  above the pool at the bottom which is only 35mm/14" deep. On pretty much just one day of the year, trout try to swim up the outflow of that pipe, tunnel through that hole and so emerge in the stream above the weir to lay their eggs. Unbelievably some make it. We observed (and filmed) this on Mothers day 2006, May 14. Sometime in the next week, if you visit this weir every day you too will witness this natural miracle.

Below the picture I have attached a very poor quality video of the event, but you can still make out what the trout are doing. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the national park (which would not worry me) but there are some very busybodying locals (alas!) who will make a fuss if I take the dogs for a walk there every day, so I may not manage a better piece of film due to other work commitments - but you may!

It is a beautiful walk up amid the blue gums:

There are fine bridges to play on:

Milo spots a trout:

There is a lovely picnic spot at the weir with a sign implying no tents under this tree - but nothing about hammocks!

Milo is learning to be an ultralight hiker. He can really use that Gossamer gear pole.

It is quite hard work though and needs lots of concentration.

09/05/2017: Hunter, angler, gardener, cook. Interesting website. Some great recipes:


09/05/2017: The White Man’s Burden: No doubt everyone else in Australia has been astonished by this absurd piece of political correctness gone mad Bill Shorten has been castigated over. Personally I give Bill enormous credit that he failed to notice that the ad contained ‘insufficient racial diversity’, meaning of course that he failed to notice any racial differences in the folks in the photograph – which is just what would happen if someone was not a racist at all actually, isn’t it? Surely it is the racists (ie those who advocate for ‘diversity’ who notice (and think it is important) what ‘race’ we belong to. The Human Race, stupid! I still like Kipling’s version best: I particularly like the lines:

‘Watch Sloth and heathen Folly

Bring all your hopes to nought.’ (That’s surely been happening a lot all over.)

The White Man's Burden

TAKE up the White Man's burden -

Send forth the best ye breed -

Go bind your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need;

To wait in heavy harness

On fluttered folk and wild -

Your new-caught sullen peoples,

Half devil and half child.

Take up the White Man's burden -

In patience to abide

To veil the threat of terror

And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple,

An hundred times made plain,

To seek another's profit,

And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden -

The savage wars of peace -

Fill full the mouth of famine

And bid the sickness cease;

And when your goal is nearest

The end for others sought,

Watch Sloth and heathen Folly

Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden -

No tawdry rule of kings,

But toil of serf and sweeper -

The tale of common things.

The ports ye shall not enter,

The roads ye shall not tread,

Go make them with your living,

And mark them with your dead !

Take up the White Man's burden -

And reap his old reward,

The blame of those ye better,

The hate of those ye guard -

The cry of hosts ye humour

(Ah slowly !) towards the light:-

"Why brought ye us from bondage,

"Our loved Egyptian night ?"

Take up the White Man's burden -

Ye dare not stoop to less -

Nor call too loud on Freedom

To cloak your weariness;

By all ye cry or whisper,

By all ye leave or do,

The silent sullen peoples

Shall weigh your Gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden -

Have done with childish days -

The lightly proffered laurel,

The easy, ungrudged praise.

Comes now, to search your manhood

Through all the thankless years,

Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,

The judgement of your peers.


09/05/2017: More ‘White man’s Burden’ – nearly a million of them: ‘About 870,000 non-citizens, mostly from Britain, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East, are claiming $15 billion a year in welfare benefits, according to new analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office.’ (Herald Sun) Why is this so? Why this absurd generosity? Why are they here unless it is to be parasites on the body politic?

08/05/2017: Steve's Ultralight Fish Chowder: Following my post about hand Line Fly Fishing I have had several requests for the Hiking Fish Chowder recipe so that I had to make it for lunch, and it was excellent. I doubt you have had a better hiking meal. Try it at home, then make sure you take the ingredients when you next head out to the hills (and streams) with your handy new hand line!


1 packet Continental French Onion Soup 460 kJ 112 calories 40 grams

1 Litre Water

4 (heaped) Teaspoons of milk powder -approx 350 kJ 80 calories 17 grams

16 Teaspoons Surprise Peas (4 Teaspoons per 250 ml) - 300 kJ 72 calories 80 grams

100 gram Sachet Safcol Yellowfin Tuna (or equivalent filleted fresh brook trout) - 616  kJ 150 calories

12 Teaspoons (Approx) Continental deb Mashed Potato - 150 kJ 35 calories 40 grams

Pepper or curry powder to taste (unnecessary)

Bring to the boil and simmer 5 minutes

Delicious! Total 1876 kJ 460 calories. 177 grams - not including the fish!

PS: The French Onion Soup makes a great base for many meals. I will be adding more! You can just make one cup of nit up on the trail and save the rest for later. Adding some peas makes for an interesting taste and makes it go a little further. The dehydrated mash thickening also makes it feel like you are eating more (and you are). (Weight and calories are approximate)

08/05/2017: Hand Line Fly Fishing: Fishing with a bubble or float is an old technique. I’m sure most of us have used this method with live baits to catch a variety of fish. It also works well with flies and other floating lures to catch trout.

My handline of choice is Streamlines Tideland which weighs 2.4 oz. I cut the rubber handle off mine (saving an ounce). It now weighs 1.5 oz (43 grams). You can easily cast over 20 metres accurately. It is as good as most spinning rods, better where there are overhanging branches, as you can cast underarm. It is ideal for getting a trout dinner out of small wooded alpine streams. I could trim its weight some more by cutting off the corner with the angle grinder and smoothing the finish. I might get it down to a functional 1 oz (or 30 grams), yet still have a superlative casting hand line.

Below are typical rigs taken from Martin Joergensen’s and Will Rietveld's articles below.

The technique is simplicity itself. Cast and slowly retrieve. The splash of the bubble hitting the water attracts the fish’s attention which is then directed at the fly tied to the invisible line. When it strikes you need only set the hook, reel it in, prepare it and eat it. More detailed tips in the articles below.

‘The Streamlines handline has landed trout in the Sierra Nevada mountains, bass in low land lakes, and up to six pound snook in Costa Rica. The Tidelands model is an inexpensive lifetime tool, ideal for backpackers, kayakers, or as a part of any complete survival kit. Casting handline has been used for decades in Costa Rica as the primary tool of ocean shore-line fishermen who must live on what they catch. Streamlines has evolved this tool, combining improved design with modern materials. It casts far and accurately, limited only by the skill of the fisherman. This go anywhere, fish anytime tool is patented and molded of plastic strengthened with 40% fiberglass reinforcing. It is overmolded with a rubber Santoprene handle.’ US$ 17.90

You could even do it with my 4 gram fishing hand lines below:

2015-09-23 13.43.23 comp

Some great articles on the technique (and related matters):

 Fishing a bubble: Martin Joergensen:

 Spin Fishing Using The Fly And Bubble Method: Mike:

 A Simple, Minimalist, and Ultralight Approach to Catching, Cleaning, and Cooking a Backcountry Fish Dinner By Will Rietveld:

 Ultralight Tic Tac Fishing Kit: Rik Christensen


 For an ultralight hiker/fisherman I think Will Rietveld’s method of cooking trout takes some beating (particularly if you were using twigs in the Caldera Cone). However, I have also been experimenting with various dry ingredients to make up a tasty fish chowder. Continental French Onion Soup is probably already a standby with you (though it takes a five minute simmer). A packet contains about 8 teaspoons full which makes four cups, so you can make them individually. Added to the (filleted) fish, it makes a tasty broth. You can thicken it (as I have mentioned before) with some Continental Deb mashed potato. A little milk powder will add to the chowdery effect. I know you don’t have to add pepper or curry powder to everything (so my wife, Della says) but these can add some zest to the overall effect. Enjoy.

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 Other Posts:

08/05/2017: Libertarianism: ‘The central tenet of Libertarianism is freedom. It is the right to choose. Not just choose 'stuff' while shopping, but everything. Where to live, who you associate with, who you do business with, who you work for or who works for you, and what you want to do with your life. While it is often contrasted with Socialism and Communism, this commentator points out there is a third thread which is often overlooked, but cuts across the philosophical spectrum - bureaucratic centralism. It's my belief that Conservatives are essentially libertarians (small "l") who like having, or believing in, the direction that centralized government can provide. Which is why Libertarians, more often than not, are lumped in with Republicans. In my recent past, I've learned to distrust and, whenever possible, avoid anything government claims to provide, or that people believe it should provide. If I could avoid, or it was practical to avoid, all things the government provides, I would. Unfortunately I don't have that freedom, since it's been taken either by vote or by bureaucratic diktat.’ (Bulldog) See also:  &


08/05/2017: ‘If you were a visitor from a distant solar system come to our nation or even a time traveler from our own nineteenth century, I submit you would be perplexed. This Trump person (being?) doesn't seem to be all that different from many leaders who have come before him. I mean, what has he done exactly? Enforced some immigration laws that were enacted by the Congress over several administrations? Tried to fix a mediocre healthcare plan with another plan that may or may not be as mediocre? Called for a tax reduction similar to those enacted by previous Republican and Democratic administrations? Cut back on some regulations that became overly burdensome? Called for a temporary halt to immigration from a half-dozen countries his predecessor had already cited as dangerous hotbeds of terrorism? Shot off a few dozen cruise missiles at the airfield of a dictator who was gassing his own people, but didn't harm a single person in the process? I could go on, but you get the point.’ Roger Simon.


07/05/2017: Exercise in a Pill: This is for me:


07/05/2017: Thanks Capitalism: How about the 78% percent reduction in extreme world poverty from 1981 to 2015:



07/05/2017: Affordable Housing is a Supply Problem: If I were a Government seriously interested in reducing the cost of housing, I would bulldoze some of the nearby ‘national parks’, buy a giant 3D printer and ‘print’ concrete houses en masse for pennies and dump them on the market:

07/05/2017: From Dawn to Dusky # 8: Upper Spey to West Arm is somewhere between 4 and 6 hours, nearer six for me these days. There have been a number of contradictory signs over the years. As the last hour or so is on a hard gravel road, and much of the walk is along flattish river banks and this is your last day,  there is a temptation to hurry. Most likely all this will achieve will be to finally tear your feet to pieces (especially your toenails) and you will miss or have to wait for the bus/boat anyway, so chill out and enjoy the scenery along the beautiful Spey River valley.

The mountain which hangs over Upper Spey resembles one of the Easter island heads.

Upper Spey sunset.

The colours are beautiful.

Leaving Upper Spey in a dewy dawn. The orb spiders have been hard at work on the coprosma.

Detail of the orbs and fruit.

Lots of duckboards at the beginning. This used to be quite swampy patch in years past.

All day is just a gentle incline following the Spey River valley downhill.

With some hobbity bits.

The Spey is a pretty little river. You can walk along in it for kilometres instead of on the track when the level is low. Good trout fishing too!

Bryn just could not resist the temptation to revel in some Fiordland mud one last time!

Eventually I tire of walkwires. There are three this day. The very last one over the Dashwood Stream I chose to wade.

But as I have said before, Bryn just loves them! That stream is really steaming...

A light in the forest.

Still a few muddy patches.

Spey river scene.

Lunch by the Spey River.

Easy fishing.

The very last walkwire over the Dashwood Stream.

One last glimpse of the Spey River

And we are out on the Wilmot Pass Rd - the end of the Dusky Track! We have made it!

Wilmot Passs Rd at the end of the track - with Steve Hutcheson 2012.

Bryn 2008.

An enigmatic Kiwi sign on the Wilmot Pass Rd echoes our feeling exactly!

Just in time to catch the Doubtful Sound bus - you wish!


Wilmot Pass - just a couple of kilometres off-route towards Doubtful Sound. When they were constructing this road in the 1970s a bulldozer driver saw  a live moose cross right here.

View of Doubtful Sound from Wilmot Pass, not such a clear day, unfortunately.

The Mica Burn.



Here we are at West Arm. Methinks they have cold beer on that 'real journeys' boat.

Inside the Manapouri Power Station hundreds of metres underground at West Arm. Unfortunately you can no longer see this.


I was right: A well-earned beer on the boat across Lake Manapouri.

Heading back to 'civilisation'.

It is a beautiful lake.

Hitching back to Te Anau from Manapouri 2012.

Fiordland Birds: An Aside: If you thought it was quiet (and peaceful) walking the Dusky track and that you don not see anything but a handful of birds as you traversed it, that's because New Zealand has lost 99% of 99% of its birds. Most were eaten by stoats or possums. This is a stoat trap along the Spey River intended to catch some of these pests. in places where there are lots of such traps and they are regularly checked (such as the South Coast Track) the birds are very slowly making a comeback - but it will be touch and go. Do not interfere with a stoat trap as someone has done here.

You are lucky to get snaps of more than a handful of birds, such as these:


It is such an awful change from what I am used to in the Gippsland bush, Victoria where you are likely to see up to 500 bird species, and at any time walking =in the bush there are probably fifty birds visible and audible of probably upwards of a dozen species - almost more than you are likely to see in a lifetime in Fiordland. They have a plan t recover their bird life. I hope they succeed with it.

06/05/2017: Think Poor, Be Rich: There are lots of folks like this. A friend of mine who endlessly espouses handfuls of commie gobbledygook has just inherited $3 million, but I misdoubt it will change his/her ideology one iota. How many such folk in our capital cities live in ‘millionaire’s mansions’? Whilst here at Jeeralang Junction we eke out a living in much more modest accommodation they would demean though we built it ourselves, every brick and stick – but I would not swap it for half a dozen of their urban prisons, no matter that ‘they sing in their chains like the sea’ (‘Fern Hill’). Seeming is the new doing:



06/05/2017: A very fine speech on Australian values, and the way forward: An example‘Australians have every justification for pride…and we should equally be proud of the broader Western civilisation of which we are part.Australia is the world’s 12th largest economy. We’re close to being the world’s largest exporter of coal, iron ore and gas; and the third largest exporter of education. We’re one of the world’s top re-settlers of refugees…We enjoy a combination of freedom, fairness and prosperity that rightly makes us the envy of the earth.We are part of a civilisation which has exported scientific learning, material prosperity, and concepts of democracy, justice and freedom to the entire world. We don’t discriminate on the basis of race, creed or gender. We do our best to judge people by the content of their character…we are convinced that every human being has…equal rights and responsibilities; and our basic rule of conduct is to treat others as we would have them treat us.The modern world is unimaginable without this legacy of Western civilisation.’


06/05/2017: Where’s the Plan? The worst thing about Turnbull’s Gonski 2.1 squandering $18 billion on ‘education’ (whilst making students pay more), is that there is no focus on how this will turn around the decline in Australia’s measured educational standards. If even Kazakhstan is beating us in these results with a fraction of the spend, it is long past time to think on quality not quantity. The domination of ‘educational’ institutions by Leftists (and low staff:student ratios) has led to this decline. Well past time to sack half of them, pass (some of) the money on to those doing a good job, increase class sizes, and bring back a big stick for those who will not knuckle down and learn! Pickering’s observation that you can’t land an aircraft at Badgery’s Creek for weeks at a time is just the icing on the cake for Turnbull’s economic tomfoolery!


05/05/2017: Jelly, The Smallest 4G Smartphone. This is a neat little phone – fits in your fob pocket, but has all the functionality of your regular smart phone. Only 60 grams, less than $100. It would be excellent for ultralight hiking. You might also consider it as a spare phone – if only you could have duplicate sim cards. Well, you can illegally, actually. Try Google. Personally, I am tired of phones being too big, and getting lost, broken or in the way. This is the solution:


Super portable


05/05/2017: Wonderful: ‘My struggle is real, and my male-identifying genitalia will no longer be silent! As a person of absolutely no color who embodies an intersectional reality that includes my utter lack of genderfluidity and my unemployment-questioning, differently-veteraned, and non-pagan experiences, I am totally oppressed by progressivism’s hegemonic power structure. I am also the victim of a systemic system of hostile paradigms that denies my truth regarding my phallo-possessory identity.’ Kurt Schlichter:

05/05/2017: Under Howard the Australian Government got by with about 17 cents out of your every dollar. That amount is closer to 26 cents now after Rudd, Gillard and Turnbull (Abbott was reducing it). Any more than a tithe I hold to be onerous taxation and public waste. It is not their money. It is ours. Give it back and stop wasting it. You and I can name a hundred things the Government can stop funding or reduce spending on – why can’t they?


05/05/2017: Richard Lindzen, one of the world's most famous climate scientists: ‘Although I have presented evidence as to why the issue is not a catastrophe and may likely be beneficial, the response [from most audiences] is puzzlement. I am typically asked how this is possible. After all, 97% of scientists agree, several of the hottest years on record have occurred during the past 18 years, all sorts of extremes have become more common, polar bears are disappearing, as is arctic ice, etc. In brief, there is overwhelming evidence of warming, etc. I tended to be surprised that anyone could get away with such sophistry or even downright dishonesty, but it is, unfortunately, the case that this was not evident to many of my listeners...


The accumulation of false and/or misleading claims is often referred to as the ‘overwhelming evidence’ for forthcoming catastrophe. Without these claims, one might legitimately ask whether there is any evidence at all.


Despite this, climate change has been the alleged motivation for numerous policies, which, for the most part, seem to have done more harm than the purported climate change, and have the obvious capacity to do much more. Perhaps the best that can be said for these efforts is that they are acknowledged to have little impact on either CO2 levels or temperatures despite their immense cost. This is relatively good news since there is ample evidence that both changes are likely to be beneficial although the immense waste of money is not.


04/05/2017: Malcolm despises the Catholic vote and decreases spending on the education of their students with his ‘new Gonski 2.1’ both directly by reducing the per capita spend on schools and indirectly by increasing their children’s university fees. No doubt the per capita spend on Islamic school students has increased. As I have seen no news about this conundrum I am almost certain of it. He would have done much better at the polls to have completely cut out the latter (which just increases the risk to Australia’s nationality and security) and increased the former. Catholic voters are predominantly upper working class to middle class. In either case they are universally aspirational voters who can see the value in scrimping to provide their children with a better education than the leftist pap doled out nowadays by our state schools. These folk are quintessentially liberal/conservative voters. To so anger them as these actions will do will alienate them completely and makes his party completely unelectable. Coupled with a promise to splash vast amounts of money on a new airport for Sydney (leaving aside the fact that surely it was Victorians alone who aid for the construction of Tullamarine) when Hong Kong airport for example carries several times as much traffic as the much more convenient old site (& on a smaller site) is political suicide! They will have to close the old site to force anyone to use the new one, but if they do so, traffic to Sydney will collapse. Who would want a 1/1/2 hour each way trip to the CBD when in Melbourne you can be downtown in ten minutes?

04/05/2017: 900th Post: Another milestone today: my 900th post here at the Ultralight Hiker. I am just back from walking the Dusky Track in Fiordland as my recent posts no doubt inform you. It is getting harder and longer as I age, but I am just glad to be able to be there and other wonderful places, and doing it. Plenty of time for the easier walks later on, I hope!

In my Hummingbird Hammock, ( Supper Cove, Fiordland New Zealand 2017.

It's been a busy 5ive and one half months! What are some of the highlights of the last one hundred posts?

Well...Trekking in Nepal:

And a much more modest walk on the Mirboo North Rail Trail:

Some ideas for pack rafting in Gippsland:

and canoe hunting:

A visit to the 'lost' Yarra Falls by 'a reader':

A week canoeing the Wonnangatta/Mitchell:

A new $10 tent:

Some thoughts on hunting:

A trip to Mt Horsefall:

Camper Mods:

A new ground sheet idea:

An excellent ultralight hiking soup:

At last a map for the Upper Yarra Track:

A canoe/motorbike trailer insert:

A visit to Blond Bay, Gippsland:

and much more...

What have I planned ahead: well, I aim to complete a last prototype of my Deer Hunter's Tent make a cuben fibre version with a poncho floor I will be going into the Victorian High Country with a one-legged friend fishing and hunting for a week at least. I hope to complete the 'Four Rivers Circuit' I have mentioned several times before, to canoe the Wonnangatta from Hearnes Spur to Kingwell Bridge, to canoe/clear the Hawthorn Creek section of the Latrobe, walk some of Victoria's Wilderness Coast, complete a circuit in Wilsons Prom, take a trip to Western Vic and walk some of the hundreds of kilometres of coast walks there, get some more work done on my idea of a Gippsland hiking circuit, make a motorcycle carrier for the Discovery/Defender...I will be busy. And of course there are jobs around the farm that get in the way of such pleasures too! Today I am working on completing the pump house move so we can finish repairing the lower dam before winter. There is one shed to re-roof, one to demolish and rebuild. Many fences to build and many trees to plant...Life just gets in the way of making plans!

04/05/2017: The Swiss show Malcolm the way forward for his new citizenship test: They are right to reject such folks as the Norwegian experience for example shows that migrants fattened on welfare tend to assimilate less well over the years:


04/05/2017: Singapore too shows the way, deports inflammatory imam: After Bourke Street and London…if you were in any doubt we are in danger, our own home-grown ‘religion of peace’ group declares ‘death to the apostates,’ Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman, Uthman Badar. This group is so extreme it is banned in Muslim-majority nations like Bangladesh (but not here – why?):


04/05/2017: In similar news, when a reformist imam visits Lakemba he is hassled and jeered. My uncle Leo used to be Post Master at Lakemba back in the 70’s when I used to travel through the peerless middle class Aussie suburb each day on my way to work at nearby Punchbowl Boys High a white middle class school then with even some Jewish students - but now also a hot-bed of Moslem insurgency. Since that time successive treasonous governments have thrown our wonderful country away:

02/05/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #7: You have a big climb and descent today: over a kilometre up and then down again from the Kintail Hut to the Upper Spey Hut. You don't have to worry. Though it takes me longer now, I did this section in 2006 when I was a mere 58, the first time I walked over Centre Pass, in five hours. I'm afraid today it takes me nearer 7. Still good to be out there. If you are young and fit and get an early start it might be possible for you to walk all the way from here to West Arm and catch the last boat across Manapouri (about 5:15, but don't quote me). I know I just missed it in 2006, and I was really hanging out for a cold beer in the Moose bar Te Anau after nearly two weeks in the wet forests of Fiordland!

Resting in the Kintail Hut with Steve Hutcheson 2012.

Crossing the Seaforth: I usually walk across the river at this point, but Bryn actually prefers walk wires!

My turn.

Beautiful flat stalking to begin with: one of the denizens seems to have lost something.

The track follows the Kintail stream upwards towards Centre Pass.

The Kintail Stream is quite gorgey. There are many beautiful views of water crashing down.

Like this.

The walkwire across the Kintail Stream. I find this the most frightening of the trip. It is so long, such a long way down and car sized rocks below with water torrenting over them should you fall. Bryn just finds it fun! If the stream is low you can cross in the stream below.

High on the face overlooking Tripod Hill and the Gair Loch there is a huge 'new' slip. You can see plants are beginning to colonise it. look out for moose browse on fuchsia here in 20 years' time!

You would not want to be here when this slip formed. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you are a moose - due to the edible regrowth) slips in Fiordland are very frequent. The 'Christchurch' earthquake of a few years back created thousands of them. They are as unavoidable as being struck by lightning but if you can you should avoid overhangs. that being said, I have never walked the Dusky without hearing a number of them!

The track becomes steeper. 

A bit of a scramble in places.

And steeper. Some places it is so steep you have to climb up a chain for support. Bryn Jones. But it is nowhere near so bad as the descent from lake Roe to Loch Marie. Soon you break out into leatherwoods and then into extensive snowgrass tops.

The mountains tower over you. There are many beautiful views back down along the Seaforth whence you came. if you are like me you will wonder whether you will ever see this view again . In 2006 oI thought I would never see it again, yet as it turns out it has become almost routine. Still i wonder whether I will ever gaze down upon Tripod Hill and the Seaforth ever again - or hear a lonely moose call. As I am quite old now, and ought to go places where Della can accompany me, this may be my last Dusky trip.

The awesome view back down the Seaforth somewhat spoiled by Bryn And me. Tripod Hill on my left shoulder.

Here it is without us. You have followed the Seaforth up from Loch Marie which you can just make out left of centre behind the Tripod Hill to the right of the Gair Loch (at the right base of the hill, then pretty much straight up to where you are now.

Finally you break free of the leatherwoods and have a view of Centre Pass - still a long way up, another half an hour or more! Some of the younger folk leave their packs near Centre Pass and climb Mt Memphis - risking the keas! I must say I have never been tempted, but then I have seen the view many times flying over it.

The cliffs certainly beetle overhead.

There are many strange plants in these high alpine meadows.

The last pinch is a bit of a climb - you wonder whether you will ever make it!

Centre Pass.

Time for a drink. You will miss that beautiful cystal clear Seaforth River water.

Now you have all that way down again to go to the Spey.

In Centre Pass in 2008 Bryn and I were visited by a pair of Kea who entertained us for quite some time with their many tricks.

I suspect they would have eaten out of our hands - or nipped our fingers off!

Again the cliffs beetle overhead.

You feel quite small in this grand scenery.

Just before you enter the leatherwoods you can turn back and view Centre Pass one last time. There is an hour or so of tree-root hopping to go - nowhere near so bad as the descent from lake Roe to Loch Marie though.

There is a substantial slip to cross. You may not be able to see the markers on the other side - look out for the cairns.

Finally you are down to flat going along the Spey River.

The Dusky still has the odd muddy patch awaiting you.

Finally you arrive at the Upper Spey Hut. Your last night in the wilderness of Fiordland. Time for a feast on all your remaining food (except tomorrow's lunch and breakfast).

03/05/2017: Taxing Time: A timely reminder from Peter Costello” The 20 per cent of Australians on the lowest incomes pay no net income tax. They are entitled to income support through the pension, unemployment benefits, parenting benefits and other allowances. But they don’t pay income tax. The next 25 per cent of Australians pay hardly any income tax, on average, about $1500 a year or $30 a week. These two groups, representing 45 per cent of the population who file tax returns, pay under 4 per cent of the income tax in this country. So who pays income tax? Middle and higher income earners carry the income tax system. Those earning above $80,000 pay two-thirds of the income tax collected in this country. The 2 per cent of Australians on incomes above $180,000 really make up the revenue by paying 26 per cent of the country’s income tax.’

03/05/2017: Red, green and black tape have been strangling Australia for too long. $176+ billion a year is incredible. We must end them now: &

03/05/2017: If only the Liberal Party would listen, but under Malcolm that is impossible: ‘The Turnbull government is at war with the people. This is a government which hates their own constituents. The Liberal Party has lost touch with what it stands for’ Latest polling from Qld shows that the Libs would lose government on Qld results alone if an election was held today. Even Dutton would lose his seat, so who is to take over from Mal. You guessed it: Tony:

02/05/2017: The Six Main Storylines. Vonnegutt was always interesting. Reminds me of Irving Berlin’s comment that there were only six tunes:

02/05/2017: ‘The government will also be keen to do something about what looks like an incipient disaster in respect of the expanding student loan book (which is held off-budget) and the increasing proportion of bad debts (loans that will never be repaid, at least in full). By 2018, the student loan book will reach $70bn, with perhaps $19bn unrecoverable, ‘Judith Sloan. Clearly there is no point in paying for such ‘university’ education amongst folk who are clearly unable to (ever) earn an income sufficient to repay it. We are pushing far too large a proportion into (worthless) university courses instead of either putting them to work or training them for work. Meantime every year we have to import thousands of people to perform work no Australian will undertake or is qualified to undertake whilst paying close to a million people to be unemployed, another million to imply breed (more like themselves – ie unable or unwilling to work) and close to another million to be ‘disabled’ – a proportion of disabled to able of nearly six times what it was at the end of WW2 when so many really disabled servicemen returned to Australia. Waste. It is all just waste.

02/05/2017: For at least the last thirty years all the gas you have been using (from Bass Strait) has been fracked - as has most of the oil you have used since WW2. I can't figure why stuff which was solved long ago is for some people a hot news panic story eg over-population, resource depletion, pollution, whaling, immunisation, fluoride, etc, etc. The World's Resources Aren't Running Out: Maybe you didn’t have time to read Julian Simon (eg ‘The Ultimate Resource’ – which for me, many years ago was a complete game changer), but maybe you have time to read this short article, which makes much the same point more succinctly:

02/05/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #6: Loch Marie to Kintail is another long section much like coming up from Supper Cove. It takes me 7-8 hours, but I am not a racer. Much of the trip is walking along pleasant river flats. Some of the clearings are so big you have to look out for the (large) triangles on the other side. There would be pleasant camping along this section, as in similar parts of the trip up from Supper Cove. I have seen fish in the river above Loch Marie, and there is a mounted photo on the wall of the Loch Marie hut of one such caught in the upper reaches of the Seaforth River above Kintail. It would also be a fine area for deer hunting during the 'roar'.

The first approx 3/4 of an hour are not so pleasant, hillsiding, rocks and tree roots, etc. this can be avoided if the river is low. You can walk up along the other side (or in the river) and cross once it flattens out on the true right bank as I have done here:

Looking back towards the Loch Marie Hut (centre) you can see it was easier going walking up the river.

You can avoid this bit of difficult going at the start when the river is low.There are a couple of  bits of hobbit country where you climb over tree roots for about an hour I guess, but it is very pretty, and not too bad.

This new bridge is a pleasant spot for a breather. It was not so nice wading across here up to your neck in the past.

There are some quite big clearings (more on the other side of the river - usually easily crossed in this section). this one complete with waterfall.

Hobbit country.

Some places you have to hang on so you don't fall in the river.

This debris gully is a good spot for a morning break.

And to check your map - you should have it laminated (as shown) for Fiordland weather.

You wouldn't want to be here when it was really raining though!

Lunch stop about half way you can get down onto these boulders and have lunch in the sunshine on a nice day.

Tripod Hill and waterfall.


We often stop for a break at the Kenneth Burn walk wire. Bryn taking it easy. Bryn and Irralee are both immune to sandflies. that would be nice!

Kenneth Burn.

After the Kenneth Burn there is a bit of a rocky climb around a giant slip and a bit of tree-root hopping going down to the head of the Gair Loch (which can be quite unpleasantly swampy when it is wet). After that it is easy river flat going to the Kintail Hut which is off the track a bit to the left. It is a very damp spot, so you probably won't be having a fire. You also have to walk back about fifty metres to get a sat phone signal.

The Kenneth Burn 'slip' has regrown with hundreds of acres of fuschia. This is a favourite food plant of the NZ moose, and you will see many examples (mostly old) of moose browse and barking if you keep an eye out. If you are very quiet and lucky you might even snap a photo of one -- there is reputed to still be a $100,000 prize! When I was walking out in 2012 there was one spot in particular to the right of the track just about the top where a moose had obviously stayed and grazed the tops of every plant for several days - just days before I passed, worse luck!

This is the Fuchsia slip I have been talking about. Hundreds of acres. You can imagine thousands such throughout the moose range in Fiordland.

Irralee pointing out some moose browse about 2.5 metres up a fuchsia on the Kenneth Burn slip.

Detail: You can see they have bitten through twigs between 1-2 cm in diameter and broken them off. Nothing else could do this 2.4-2.7 metres (8'-9')off the ground.

A bit of rougher going heading down to the Gair Loch.

A bit of swampy going near the Gair Loch.

Easy to go down to your hips!

Looking down on the Gair Loch from near Centre Pass. The track has circled behind the Tripod Hill(from left to right in the photo) then come along the right hand side of the Loch. There would be good fishing, I imagine.

And then pleasant walking for an hour or so until you come to the Seaforth walk wire and the Kintail Hut.

Like this.

Seaforth Walk Wire. The hut is a little further along about 200 metres back from the river on the true right bank

Kintail Hut.

01/05/2017: Other People’s Money: Bandits, swindlers and overlords throughout history have delighted in the questionable pleasures of squandering other folks’ money; their activities have also always attracted a host of cronies eager to share in the largesse. These evils are what today we call ‘government’ and ‘public service’. Around ‘Budget’ time (or ‘heist’ or’ protection money’ time) our minds are focused somewhat on what they chose to splash our cash away on. A rational observer (from the faraway planet Tralfamidore perhaps) would assume that ‘they’ would at least limit their activities to spending only what ill-gotten gains had ‘fallen’ into their hands. Our ‘robber barons’ today are also hell-bent on borrowing even more money than they coud possibly squeeze out of us (in our name) at usurious interest rates (no doubt intensely supported by that great moral bank, Westpac) so that we and our descendants will have to hand over even more of our ‘hard-gotten’ to them in perpetuity. When you are spending other people’s money you would think there would (at least) be some moral compunction to spend the money wisely and frugally, to save for a rainy day & etc – just as honest folk do. The scum who ever inhabit the echelons of power have no such nicety. They cast our wealth around like confetti, behaving ever as if there will be no tomorrow. Sadly there may not be if this goes on in our country much longer. They should at very least ‘live within their means’, and make savings wherever they can be made, returning all monies saved to those to whom it rightfully belongs. (The greatest wickedness of the twentieth century was not making war on civilians – though this is very similar - it was government’s ‘inventing’ the income tax, whose premise was that everyone’s money wasn’t their own but properly belonged to government who would return that small portion of it – to its rightful owners- that they chose we deserved). If politicians and public servants have to take their own lunch to ‘work’ - to which they travel on the bus - and have the worst ‘working conditions’ of all in society well, that is only right and proper. Folks who chose the life of the parasite deserve no better! Now watch what is actually in the Budget – and weep!

01/05/2017: Westpac: has decided it will bring about an end to our largest export industry – coal mining. If this finally drives Adani away too it will also spell the end of all our export industries, as it will be impossible to persuade anyone that our sovereign risk is not too great for them to venture hither. You expect suck reckless destructiveness from undergraduate nihilists and greens activists, not from one of our largest banks. If I can sell my Westpac shares this morning, I will. I have no desire to support such wickedness! Addendum: all four big banks now ban coal! Only development can ensure prosperity:

01/05/2017: What a fascinating essay. Just a sample: ‘Antonio Gramsci was the most formidable Marxist after the founding father. He realised that the proletarian revolution was not enough and that there were other ways forward. He advocated a long march through the institutions: educational, cultural, journalistic, bureaucratic, ecclesiastical. This has been alarmingly successful, thanks in part to widespread naivety among conservatives, who thought they were being hard-headed when they reasoned: “Leave culture to the leftists. What harm can they do?” This is dangerous nonsense. Everyone understands the importance of soft power in international affairs. That is equally true in domestic matters. The Left not only uses its marchers to undermine Western culture. It also uses its power to de-legitimise free enterprise and promote egalitarianism. Lose the culture war, and the economic war is in jeopardy.’

30/04/2017: Why prejudice is a good thing: Amid all the guff about ‘hate speech’ (which clearly only means ‘things you don’t agree with’), the concept of ‘prejudice’ is accepted as axiomatically bad by many folk - yet clearly the converse is the case. If we did not have to ability to pre-judge, we would be wasting an awful lot of time in all sorts of pointless and meaningless exercises. My guess is that the average human being takes sub 2 seconds to pre-judge practically everything, and especially whether someone is dangerous, whether they like them, whether they will talk to them or continue a conversation & etc. If we did not have this terrific ability pretty much hard-wired we would spend most of our lives talking endlessly to bores who button-hole us at coffee machines, on trains, at bus stops, in shopping centres, & etc. The ability to ‘pre-judge’ and its corollary the ability to make quick inferences from insufficient data are essential to our survival and happiness. You jump out of the way of all those falling safes long before your senses tell you there is a danger – that’s mostly why you’re still alive. No doubt prejudice creates some collateral damage such as the odd hurt feeling, but we all know that we have to learn to toughen up against such slights. Most people get really tough at an early age by learning to ignore their parents who are almost always simply terrible at sensitivity and minding their own business, and will without any urging at all drop absolute clangers about our latest hair style, choice of clothes, boyfriend or girlfriend, weight, appearance, etc which we would have simply long ago walked away from absolute strangers if they tried such lines out on us. As a survival tool you simply just have to develop the instant ability to pre-judge what is coming and be ready to slope out of there in an instant when your reflexes alert you. I am simply prejudiced against everyone and everything, so mind your own business! IowaHawk ‘I'll let you ban hate speech when you let me define it. Deal?’


Replies to comments: And you lack the ability to make split-second decisions? I think not. If we could not pre-judge, I doubt we would ever be able to make any decisions.

But I think you are wrong anyway: if prejudice leads to anything it is avoidance, not hate. It is more often love which leads to hate.

30/04/2017: Triage originated as a battlefield concept (its origins in the French ‘trier’ = to sort, not necessarily into threes – as in ‘triangle’) where due to scarce resources and time constraints the wounded were sorted into three groups: those who would die anyway, those who were unlikely to, and those whose chances of living would be most helped by immediate assistance. It is an example of the utilitarian principle (later articulated by John Stuart Mill, ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’ – though it yet has many critics). In any non-imaginary society resources are always limited, and have to be allocated according to budgetary considerations. Accordingly keeping people in prison costs (in Australia) somewhere between $250,000pa and $350,000pa - in the ACT’s new model ‘human rights’ prison which has been much in the news of late. The cost of legal aid can easily run to $1 million per case (or higher), and the cost of ancillaries (eg repatriation of bodies, as in the present case) can be added to that. In the present case, the ‘Bali Nine’ have incurred (in equivalent Australian dollars) costs of say $250k per person for ten years = $22.5 million, to which you can add legal costs of several million, and ancillary costs – let us say (conservatively) $25 million. In 7/9 these costs are continuing. The cost of saving a life (in the Third World) via a vaccination programme against common preventable diseases is perhaps as little as $10 (calculated at .10 cents per vaccination and a mortality of 1% in the unvaccinated) or as many as 2.5 million lives saved for the same outlay. Even in the first world many innocent lives could be saved by medical interventions costing $100,000 per person which have to be forgone due to budgetary constraints, so even here the same outlay could save 250 innocent lives. Question: Why do some people value the lives of the guilty many times higher than the lives of the innocent?

30/04/2017: Alexander Van der Bellenthe the Austrian president, (a former Green): ‘the day will come when we have to ask all women to wear a headscarf – all – out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons.’ Great stuff!

28/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky # 4 & 5: The trip to Supper Cove is a side trip taking two days - but really worth it! The walk up/down from Loch Marie to Supper Cove takes me 7-8 hours. I know you may be younger and in more of a hurry - who know why? Most of the distance is very pleasant, flat walking along a river/lake. There are two exceptions: the hour you have to spend climbing around the giant slip which created Loch Marie until after the Bishop Burn (which is not too bad actually), and the last hour if you cannot cross Supper Cove at low tide before you reach the Supper Cove Hut. It is one of the nastiest tree/rock hopping bits on the whole track, seeming doubly worse as it comes at the end of a long day. Many folks have turned their knee or ankle on this section (including me), so leave early enough you are not hurrying at the end of the day when you are tired.

Supper Cove itself is one of the pleasantest spots on earth, and you should plan to spend a few days there. It has likely got the very best toilet view in the world too! You might be able to prearrange (as I sometimes have) a helicopter or the float plane to leave some supplies tied up in a bag in the rafters of the boat shed so you can extend your stay. You will be able to have fresh fish three times a day if you have a hand line, some sinkers and hooks - or you may be lucky enough to find some there that the DOC has not confiscated. You should plan on this and have some oil/Alfoil (and a little salt to taste) to cook the fish with. The Blue Cod particularly, easily caught in the deeper water off the rocks behind the hut are perhaps the best eating fish in the world. Maybe include a cheap frying pan in that bag.

In 2009 I paddled this section with my Alpacka 'Fiord Explorer'. I am not going to do so again!

There it is on the shores of Loch Marie! See:

I even paddled across the lake itself though I can't imagine why now.

First the track follows the old miner's track along the edge of the lake. A few rocks, but easy going.

The loch is beautiful in the dawn.

Everywhere there is the beauty of water moving.

My son Bryn crossing the first walk wire in 2008.

Some beautiful views of the lake through the ancient trees.

Sometimes when the lake is very low it is easier to walk along the edge of the lake. Look out fro moose tracks in the soft mud and sand. Such tracks have often been seen here.

At one point as you climb around the slip listening to the roar of the water as it crashes over the giant boulders and wondering that trout can find their way past it, you will come upon the remains of the iron tools C19th miners used to make this section of the track. What hardships they must have endured.

Lots of places DOC have put in new steel or wooden bridges (even a new walk wire) since I first walked it nearly twenty years ago. It certainly cuts out some difficult scrambling up and down.

Eventually you meet up with the Seaforth River again below the Bishop- Burn. This must be about where I put in on my raft trip in 2009. There are many beautiful river vistas ahead.

Mind you there were some rapids to avoid!

Real 'Huck Finn' stuff this.

The flat going is split by an unexpected ladder.

Crossing the Mcfarlane Burn 2008.

The Old Supper Cove Hut site. Just before you leave/join the river you will see (if you look carefully) the remains of the old hut. Right in the centre of the photo you can just make out the parallel lines of the tree fern trunks which formed its floor. It was the last point you could get to by boat. It would have been a useful shelter if the river and particularly the Henry Burn swamps were flooded. It would have been a cold, wet camp to have lived in whilst you were building the track in the C19th though!

My son Bryn demonstrating just how swampy it gets between the two arms of the Henry Burn in 2008.

My daughter Irralee crossing the 'Waterfall Burn' in 2007.

The Waterfall Burn. There is a 160 metre waterfall at the top of this unnamed stream. You can climb up with difficulty by following the next gully (ie on the true right down Fiord). in 2000 the top of this higher waterfall was shrouded in mist and it appear4ed to simply fall from the clouds. It was pouring with rain and photography was impossible/disappointing. There was fresh moose sign (tracks/droppings) up this burn then too.



Easy walking, as you can see. If the tide is not so full you can still cut off a fair bit of nasty stuff. The track is usually not far from the shore (after crossing) the first ridge. If you are looking across the Cove facing the hut you will see some white rocks on the other side. if you aim for the right hand end of those rocks, you might still see a taped trail leading up to the main track when you get near. This is the view looking from the hut side towards the 'Waterfall Burn' side. The low tide at Supper Cove is approximately 2 1/2 hours earlier than Port Craig (so, if Port Craig's low was at 1:30 pm for example (as it was on 21/04/2017), Supper Cove's was at approximately 11:00 am.. You can check the tide info at the Met Service NZ before you start on the track to see whether you will be able to cross Supper Cove.

If the tide is fully low you can walk all the way across the cove. You can just walk out past the boat shed and helipad, cross the Hilda Burn, then head straight across the Supper Cove flats. Only 'thermometer deep' as you can see Bryn crossing in 2008.

This is the first view of Supper Cove looking towards the hut (unfortunately at high tide). The hut (invisible) would be almost exactly centre. See the white rocks on the shore opposite. You would aim just to the right of them if you were walking across at a lowish tide, then walk up (approx 50-100 metres to the true left bank of the Hilda Burn) to intersect with the track. I did mark the low tide trail in 2014 with tape and a buoy hung from a tree on the shore. You might still spot them.

First view of the hut from the air (with Della 2011:

My daughter Irralee crossing the Hilda Burn 2009.

Arriving at the Supper Cove Hut.

This is the beautiful view from the verandah looking up the Seaforth. The moose were released on that sandbar (centre) in 1905. Many delights await at Supper Cove.

Such as fishing off the rocks for blue cod: my son Bryn demonstrates.

A Hummingbird hammock comes in handy at Supper Cove 2017:

It is becoming a busy switch over point for tour boat operators.

You can often 'catch a lift' to/from Supper Cove from a a helicopter:

Or a float plane.

About 100 metres behind the Supper Cove Hut there are the remains of another 'mystery' hut guarded by a fantail. You can continue up that ridge (past the cataract) and drop down into the Hilda Burn upstream (if you are intrepid/foolhardy). Just after where the Burn splits in two I glimpsed a cow moose in 2000.

28/04/2017: ‘Human’ prehistory just took a number of big hits. Evidence for hominids in America has pushed their presence back 100,000 years! There is also other news about two more of our relatives: & &


28/04/2017: Bring on the ‘English Solution’: ‘The milestones are impressive: an average of a thousand new jobs a day over five years; unemployment down by almost half a million in a year; a jobless rate half the eurozone’s; more jobs created than in the rest of Europe put together; more people in work, more women in work, more disabled people in work than ever; the highest percentage of the population in work since records began. All this while the public sector has been shedding 300 jobs a day.’


28/04/2017: ‘Shelley Garland’ advances the cause: white men need to be disenfranchised:

27/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky # 3: It will take you slightly longer to walk from Lake Roe to Loch Marie than it did from Halfway Hut, though this will come as a surprise when you seem to have walked 3/4 of the way there over pleasant snow-grass tops sprinkled with myriad jewel lakes and you are gazing down on the Loch and its tree trunks just a kilometre below you. That last kilometre is a doozy!

Looking back towards the hut from lake Roe look-out reveals the way ahead towards Loch Marie.

Looking down from the climb in the previous photo.

Last view of Lake Roe and its hut. 

A myriad jewel lakes.

Mist magic.

Looking up the Seaforth towards Centre Pass.

First view of the Fiord and the sea faraway.

The last tarn before the perilous descent.

Loch Marie seems so close down there: It is. One false move and you will be there.

But it is not without its beauty.

It is horrendously steep. Not a track at all, but more like some horrific ladder mostly made of tree roots and rocks. Here and there a chain for support.


It is a nightmare descent which seems as if it will go on forever.

But finally it does come to an end (after 3+ hours!)

There is an emergency shelter in case the river is too high.

A very long, high walk wire if it is not quite so high, or you can cross below the walk wire if it is low, like this,

A very pretty waterfall to look at.

The lake of course with its many tree trunks.

And just a quarter hour's stroll from the walk wire the cosy Loch Marie hut on a n elevated peninsula overlooking the lake and the river - shown here with a fairly cold son Bryn in 2008.

27/04/2017: I really do not get ‘feminists’ playing down child marriage and genital mutilation (eg amongst the Moslem community) which would make slaves/property of all women and children:


27/04/2017: Outlawry. It was such a good idea: H. L. Mencken explains the ancient punishment of outlawry, last applied in England 155 years ago: ‘Certainly it is simple enough in its workings. A man who deliberately chooses the career of an outlaw is made one officially. From that moment he has no rights whatever. Any citizen may beat him, wound him and even kill him without challenge. It is a misdemeanor knowingly to conceal him, or even to feed him. He is thrown into the exact position of the victim he assaults and robs, and is paid off in his own coin.’ I am sure many others are sick to death of folks who wantonly abuse the law, prey on and endanger us – such as this current spate of home invaders. Clearly neither punishment nor deterrent is working. I think if you took the left testicle for the first offence with the clear proviso that the right one would next be taken for a further offence, the rate of offending would plummet!


27/04/2017: 5 million more people over the last 15 years: Nearly ¾ of that under Labor. 1 in 5 people living here now is a new arrival during that period. Far too many are sponging off taxpayers. They have driven up house prices to levels that Australians cannot afford to buy a home. Our roads, schools and hospitals are overcrowded near to bursting. Huge chunks of these folk have no loyalty to Australia, or are openly opposed and hostile to everything we stand for. We must turn the tap off on immigration now, before we lose our country. A return to Labor will also, always spell a return to mass immigration (of unsuitable people). Of course, as folks have oft observed, ‘Liberals want immigrants to work but not vote, and Labor want immigrants to vote but not work.’

27/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #2: If it took a little over 6 hours to walk from Hauroko to the Halfway Hut (as it did me this year - I was quicker seven years ago, no surprise), then it will take slightly longer to walk to Lake Roe Hut. Do not time yourself to arrive after dark. The hut would be very difficult to find in poor light as it is off-track to the right.

The view ahead out the front door of the Halfway Hut on a fine sunny Fiordland morning. Deer have kept the lawn well mown.

The same view from the air. It is a large valley. Room for a few moose there.

The trail begins: most of the day is tree root hopping (but it is not bad going) save between the two walk wires and after yoiu break out onto the snow grass tops for the last half hour or so.

Beautiful vistas.

Pretty views of the Hauroko Burn below.

Very roughly it is about one-third of the journey to the first walk wire, one third to the next, and the last third to lake Roe.

You could walk along the river fishing between the two walk wires. The track is almost always close by and in sight on the true right bank in this section.

Lunch at the first walk wire. I was in no hurry. My new Icebreaker 'Departure 2' wool shirt ( worked wonderfully in Fiordland. It was soft and comfortable and protected me from sandflies. The breast pocket was just the right size for my pocket camera (Nikon Coolpix S7000). It was a beautiful temperature for the days' walking (about 15C) and had no unpleasant smell to it even after more than a week of wear without washing (it did get wet a couple of times though - as when I fell over in the Jane Burn for example). Once wet it did not strike cold after less than a minute, and dried out completely (from soaking) on my back in less than an hour. Highly recommended. It now comes in a beautiful green and black plaid - something for my Xmas list!

A note on sandflies: Generally they do not bother you when moving or of a night but some places especially near water they can be terrible. It is easy to believe that folks have been driven to suicide by them. Some places they will cover every exposed piece of skin in the blink of an eye. Most folks are allergic to their bites and come up like the surface of the moon in an agony of itching. There is a solution: Come prepared. I always carry extra repellent and ointment as it is easy to lose one from your pockets.

It is relatively easy flat going between the two walk wires; time for a spot of fly-fishing perhaps.

Through a serene and peaceful forest.

Until you come to the second walk wire.

After which the track starts to gradually rise until it eventually breaks out onto the snow grass tops. You know you are about there by the strong smell of deer in the leatherwood forests near this boundary.

You climb up the Hauroko Burn which becomes quite steep in places, falling in small cascades.

You begin to get views of the tops ahead and to the sides.

And the view behind down the valley is quite spectacular.

It is a pleasure though to at last start to break out into snow grass country.

The way ahead is now clear (if not well marked). it is straight over that hill in the centre.

Finally you come to Lake Laffy on your right. The hut is at the head of the lake behind those leatherwoods. As this lake empties into the Hauroko it may even hold trout. Worth a try at dusk.

First view of the hut.

Lake Roe Hut is just off to the right behind Lake Laffy snuggled amongst the leatherwoods.

Just in front of the hut a comfy seat has been provided.

The view in front of the seat is quite spectacular.

You can walk up the hill behind the hut and get some spectacular views of Lake Roe after which the hut is named.

26/04/2017: Remember that ‘bee ban’ on neonicotinoids? Turns out it was all a fake, and that the ban has made things very much worse. Who would have thought the Green folk could get so much wrong?


26/04/2017: Trump is seeking a 15% corporate tax rate. What a boost to capitalism that will be. Will Australia follow suit, or will we just keep stealing money from the taxpayers and pouring it into ‘worthy causes’ none of us would support – such as the $500 million Mal and Jules poured into various mainly Islamist programmes in just the last eight weeks:

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26/04/2017: The inability to write clear English should never get in the way of academic success, it seems. This has certainly been the case since (at least) the time of Wittgenstein. The writer of this article ably demonstrates an ability to do so - as well as highlighting a parallel inability amongst his/her opponents that it is a sheer pleasure to read. It is most unfortunate that ‘belonging’ and ‘seeming’ are often judged to be superior to ability. This should never be allowed to happen whatever apparent (numerical) inequalities may seem to be represented by the proportions of various groups (women, blacks, Martians, dogs etc) at the top of successful life’s various arbors. The presence of incompetent ‘representatives’ of such ‘minorities’ at the very acme (such as eg Barack and Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton) merely diminishes the achievements of the truly able, such as Thomas Sowell, for example. Do read on: or Also see:


25/04/2017: One hundred years ago today: the infant in the middle was my father, Lawrence Jones, so like my own adorable grandson, Milo who is now much of an age as my father was then. He was born on the very first Anzac Day, so it would have been his birthday today, had he not been cruelly taken from us when I was just 13.




25/04/2017: ‘Probably the most extreme form of inequality is between people who are alive and people who are dead,’ Peter Thiel. So true, yet each has an equal share at present, ie one life. The marketers of ‘immortality’ however are like to be promoting a Ponzi scheme of even greater magnitude than the welfare state, as ever increasing percentages of our lives are dedicated to paying for our own immortality - just as ancient Egyptians spent so much paying for it till the lot of the living and the defence of the realm fell into disarray. There is an old (Jewish?) saying, If the rich could pay someone to die for them, the poor would have a good living’. This dilemma underlines the inevitability of all such Ponzi schemes: someone else must be found to come along and pay the Piper. Yet it is so much fun spending other people’s money, that I doubt its fascination will ever diminish.


25/04/2017: Civilisation at the crossroads - The Fall of Constantinople 1453 under Mehmet 2:

Istanbul was Constantinople

Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople

Been a long time gone, ol' Constantinople

Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night...

Why did Constantinople get the works?

That's nobody's business but the Turks.’(from a song by Jimmy Kennedy)

It all sounds so innocuous, doesn’t it, but Erdogan has just become immeasurably more dangerous than Putin, having been handed dictatorial powers last weekend. If you need a reminder of what the rape of Constantinople was like, you might read this: Such rapine, slavery or worse yet looms ominously over Europe under his hands. Erdogan, not Kim Jong-un may be the most evil leader in the world today. You might send to ask the 3,000 he murdered in his coup last year and the 30,000+ he imprisoned…I suspect you will be answered by a stony silence. Under Mehmet 2 Western civilisation was overwhelmed by barbarism. Today we are facing a repeat performance of this immense tragedy.


25/04/2017: Emmanuel Macron is likely to become president of France in the run-off against Marine Le Pen. His wife was his teacher at school, and they fell in love when he was 15 and she 39, with three children. Why is this fine in France but the kind of thing that could have her jailed here?

25/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #1: Regular readers will know I have just returned once more from hiking the Dusky Track, Fiordland New Zealand - probably NZ's toughest and most beautiful. I have now been on the Dusky nine times. For most of its length it is more a route than a track. Take away the track markers and it would disappear completely. So many places too it goes where no sane route would take you: straight down a drop-off in the section from Lake Roe to Loch Marie, for example when any experienced off-trail person (a hunter perhaps) would follow the easier route down the Jane Burn.

You need to beware of kea in the Lake Hauroko car park - and elsewhere. They will tear unatttended packs and tents to shreds.

Most sections take all day, so it pays to get started early (at dawn - as you will need to do on the first day if you are to catch the bus and boat) as many places it would be extremely dangerous to be walking in poor light or at night. Also, being one of the wettest places in the world and with lethal changes of weather, it is essential you have some kind of shelter as you may easily find yourself caught out at night. Rain strips heat from your body 25 times faster than dry air. See: I chose a hammock and tarp as the often torrential rain may mean that it is impossible to find anywhere dry on the ground. At very least take a hiking umbrella: It might be even more desirable and less tiring to slow your pace and plan to camp put some nights instead of staying in the huts (if the weather is pleasant). Most places, except when journeying across the tops, there are plenty of trees to swing a hammock - and if you are near a stream, there is the likelihood of fresh fish for supper - or breakfast!

Dawn breaks through clouds over Lake Hauroko

I find the Backcountry Navigator App and the NZ Topo maps which are free, really useful for keeping track of just where you are: You can switch the GPS on on your phone to check this from time to time, leaving it usually in the default GPS off and Flight mode to conserve batteries. This way you would not walk past the hut, and might have a feed of fish as well. The Halfway Hut may be the last hut in NZ which has the old-style open fire places which were so warming and efficient. The new 'green' stoves are absolutely hopeless. I am not convinced they put out any warmth at all for a large expense of effort and fuel. You certainly cannot cook anything on top of them, or even warm it.

You should also download (to your phone) the map here: and the brochure here: so that you can study them beforehand and refer to them as you go along.

Especially in autumn there are often long periods of high pressure where you can walk for days without taking your raincoat out of your pack. I have found Elders 28 day Rainfall forecast for the bottom of Tasmania ( to be a pretty good indicator of the onset of such periods (allowing three days for them to cross the Tasman). By paying careful attention I have managed to visit Fiordland many times without getting wet. The GFS and NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory also give a pretty good 16 day forecasts:

Finally a beautiful clear day as we chug North towards the Hauroko Hut and the beginning of the Dusky Track.

Most folk walk from South to North, ie from Lake Hauroko to Lake Manapouri. This is dictated by the availability of transport to begin/end the trek. Both ends are on a lake which has to be crossed, usually by boat. The regular Lake Hauroko boat drops off twice per week whilst there are several boats a day across Lake Manapouri. This means that if you wish to walk the track largely by yourself, you have only to wait at the Hauroko Hut for a day or two (fishing) whilst others get well ahead of you. I usually bring in some canned food to last these days, leaving them in the hut if I don’t need them where they are available to others who might be stranded there for a few days - but without causing a rodent problem. Of course you can charter a boat, plane or helicopter anytime.

Johan & Namu tied up at the mouth of the Hauroko Burn

It is also possible to do shorter sections of the track by availing oneself of ‘back loads’ on helicopters or the ‘Wings and Water’ float plane ( ) which operates a ‘regular’ service to Supper Cove at the head of the Fiord. It can land in many other places in Fiordland too, such as Lake Hauroko in this example. Another brilliant spot it can take you is to Cromarty on Preservation Inlet from where if you are very intrepid you can walk back all the way to Tuatapere or Lake Hauroko. The float plane is cheaper per hour than a helicopter and can take five passengers, so the cost can be divided in such a way as to cost only $100-150 ea. perhaps less if there was a full load both ways. This flight from Te Anau to Supper Cove would have to rank as the most beautiful plane journey in the world! The various helicopter operators can also often provide discounted ‘back load’ type fares, so it is well worth asking them about availability: & & In any case you need to take their telephone numbers with you and a (hired) satellite phone so you can call them in if you ever need them.

The Hauroko Hut, a comfortable hut a minute's walk from the lake and the burn.

Boat transport to the Hauroko Hut is usually organised with Johan and Joyce at Lake Haoroko Tours and bus transport to meet with them at the Clifden suspension bridge with Trips and Tramps Johna & Joyce also operate a jet boat on the Wairaurahiri River (as does another operator) which has to be just about the best jet boat ride in the world (and a convenient way to begin or end the wonderful South Coast Track (see eg: You would probably leave your car at the long-term car-park at View St, Pearl Harbour, Manapouri, or you can catch a bus back to Te Anau from there.

The Track begins.

Track times are pretty fluid as with many NZ tracks. For reasonable fit people of my age (68) it is rare for a section to take less than six hours, and some will take more than 8. If you have a late start here, it might be better to wait until next morning so you won't have to hurry. That way you could also do some trout fishing in the Burn which the track parallels for many hours. It is possible to walk along in the stream in many places, then rejoin the track - if the water levels are low. The sign on leaving the Lake reckons about 6 hours to the Halfway Hut, which I reckon is about right.

The Hauroko is a beautiful little trout stream.

With more delights around every corner.

The first 3/4 of an hour after leaving the hut you are walking along on basically river flats quite by the true right bank of the Burn more or less until you come to a walk wire on a side burn. After that the track climbs and the tree hopping begins. Nonetheless it is fairly easy going until you arrive at the walk wire near the junction of the Gardner Burn. After that the track climbs around a gorge and the going gets pretty rough for an hour or so until you come out onto the flats along the Burn again (now the true left). You have nearly two hours walking along here until you come to the hut, set back a little from the stream so that you might not see it if you were walking in the stream fishing, for example.

The track begins to climb after you cross this pretty side burn.

There are some lovely views still down to the river.

And it is not without beautiful 'ents'.

It is a magical path.

Then you come to the Gardner Burn confluence walk wire

After the Gardner Burn there is a rough section.

Once you break out onto the flats again you could easily walk along in the stream fishing for your tea.

Bracket fungi make excellent fire starters when dry: some fine examples.

My daughter Irralee at the Halfway Hut 2009.

A note on getting lost: From time to time you will lose the track markers. probably about twice a day! There are many deer paths, and many wrong turnings others have taken to follow. As soon as you realise you have lost sight of the markers, Stop. Before ever thinking of panicking, have a cup of tea. My mother Marie always advised this, and it is damned good advice. Spending s a little time doing something else, then being warmed by a refreshing 'cuppa' does wonders to allay fears and settle your thinking. Consult your map. Try to work out where the track must be. Often the track follows one side of a stream or another. Try to remember when you were last on track, and how far back you think you went wrong. Try to remember the last little bit of your path. Mark your current position so you can find it again, eg by a small cairn, breaking branches, etc. Backtrack to where you think you went wrong, marking or at least noting your route as you go (so you don't get even more lost). You shouldn't ever be more than a hundred metres from where the last marker was unless you were really wool gathering and there was a very pronounced deer path (or etc) you have followed.

Sometimes it will be the way ahead that is unclear (even if you have the markers behind you.) Again, try to work out (from your map and the lay of the land) where the track must go. Make little forays forward and back to your marked position along obvious routes until you find the path ahead. If this does not work, try forays (back and forth) a little further off what you thought was the 'line' of the track until you find it. If you are starting to panic, have another cuppa! Unfortunately the 'obvious routes' are not always correct There are a couple of places (eg one below Loch Marie as the track skirts the huge slip which created the Loch) where the track switchbacks unexpectedly, and the markers are missing or hard to see, yet lots of folks have forged straight ahead making a very pronounced path where the real path is just about impossible to see. Remember that whoever fixed the markers ensured that you could always see one before or behind when they nailed them to the trees. I know many will have fallen off, but if you are 'lost' and careful, you should after less than 100 metres find one leading one way or another. You should by now have refound the track.

If you really find it impossible to follow the track in one direction, then follow it in the other. It is better to give up the idea of completing the track than to die! In the (very) unlikely event that you cannot find the track in either direction, go back to the map and try to work out where the track must be (eg it is roughly following the true right bank of a stream. If you follow the stream you will find it again (eg at a walk wire where it crosses). Be very careful walking off-track as the ground often has large holes which can open up beneath you. This whole area is an ancient moraine. You are much better carefully trying to find your own way out of a situation like this than immediately setting off an Epirb/Plb which might not work from the location you find yourself in - or the batteries might be flat! I carry both a satellite phone and a satellite messenger/Epirb hybrid (such as this: However both may fail, whilst you should always have your wits about you! You should in any case have let someone know your intentions and when/where to start looking for you. If you have a shelter and warm clothing, and do not stray even further from the general position of the track, you will be found alive, or you will find your own way out.

Perhaps the worst places to get lost are on the tops (which are often not as well marked as they might be). Frequently you cannot see the way ahead (especially in heavy rain, fog or cloud). You need to take extra care in those sections as it is colder, windier and harder to find shelter. Some folks decide they will walk all the way from Lake Hauroko to lake Roe Hut on the first day, for example. Once you break out onto the tops the route is marked by snow poles or such but they are often far apart and you sometimes cannot see the next one. Try to make sure you don't get in a position where you can't see the last one too! As the lake Roe hut is not on the direct line of the track (but off it to the right - walking in this direction) you would pass it by in the dark (which could be quite disastrous on a cold, wet night). Try not to have a fire at Lake Roe. There is very little wood thereabouts which should be conserved for real emergencies. I strongly advise people to take each section a day at a time. This is not a race. Haste will only mean you see less of the outstanding beauty of Fiordland. No-one will appreciate that you are some super hero able to run the whole track in one day as some kind of super-marathon. Such haste will also only make it more likely that some disaster will befall you: a fall, serious injury, becoming lost or hyperthermic in the dark, or etc. Plan to take at least seven days to finish this track, and allow for more like ten. It is likely to be nicer than you thought, or nastier - in either case more time will be required.

The Elusive Fiordland Moose: Along the way there is sporadic moose sign if you are alert and keen eyed. Nothing else could reach up 2.5-2.7 metres (8-9'), break off branches as thick as your thumb and strip them, or devour all the lower vegetation of their favourite broadleaf plants, or systematically bark trees, or leave footprints as big as a cow's.These solitary leviathans yet roam these forests unseen.

This coprosma has been systematically broken off about 2.5 metres up.

And this.

Broadleafs have commonly been stripped to this height.

They like to snack on nutritious bark as they amble along.

Leaving footprints as long as my glasses case. Like this:

Or this.

Someday someone will stumble round a corner onto one and snap its pic. Already two confirmed C21st DNA samples have been collected, and one indistinct photo. It is only a matter of time...

You are now one seventh of the way - More installments to come...

See also:

24/04/2017: Astonishing images of hand-carved food:


24/04/2017: The Great Buster Keaton: 100 years ago this comic genius made his first film, ‘The Butcher Boy’. You can watch it here: Perhaps his greatest ever film was ‘The General’, 1926. If you have never seen it, do:

15/04/2017: A Hummingbird in the Hand: I just took delivery of these fabulous new ultralight hammocks. One, (the lightest of course -147 grams) will be coming with me on my upcoming Dusky Track adventure. I would not be ‘betting my life’ on one for ten days in the wilderness unless I had every confidence they are a superior product.

These are the cleverest and best engineered hammocks I have seen – and I’ve seen (and made!) a lot of hammocks.  They are made from reserve grade parachute nylon and are designed, engineered and built to rigging specifications - meaning you can be confident their weight ratings will not fail you.

Button End.

The suspension system and button-link connectors are brilliant. The suspension system weighs just two ounces (60 grams) and is easily attached with the button-links. I know I could probably reduce the weight a fraction (maybe 20 grams) by replacing the ultra-light webbing with dyneema, but as this would harm the trees more, I hardly think it is worth it. Chris & Kathy have worked out the design and parameters of these hammocks just about perfectly. They have also ensured that everything packs down into the smallest imaginable packages for stowing in your ultralight pack.

Ultralight Whoopie Sling.

However, you know I can’t stop tinkering: I have already added dyneema gear loops to each end of mine so I can attach bits and pieces there instead of leaving them on the ground overnight – and I have added an adjustable centre line (these added 8 grams) to a see if I can achieve ‘the perfect hang’, though I am pretty sure the folks at ‘Hummingbird’ have so designed the hammock that you lie pretty flat in it, and the sides don’t press in too  much – more about that later.

Ultralight Tree Strap Suspension System - 30 grams/1 oz each end!

They have three sizes of ultralight hammocks:  Single 147 grams/5.2 oz - weight rated: 136 kg/300lb, Single + 210 grams/7.6oz – weight rated: 158kg/350lb, and Double 289 grams/10.2oz weight rated: 181kg/400lb. I will be using their Single ultralight hammock as emergency sleeping quarters in Fiordland (in case of flooding), and I might do some off-trail camps as well, as I usually do. It will also be excellent (along with my cuben tarp) for eating lunch on those (inevitable) wet days. Look out for a full(er) review on my return home.

Chris & Kathy also sell many hammock accessories (such as tarps eg ‘Heron’ from 243 grams/8.6oz) to complete your hammock home. All their gear is competitively priced given the high quality of their products.

'Heron' tarp.

Check out their page here:

15/04/2017: 19 Gram Dyneema Camp Shoes: I just finished making this pair of ultralight camp shoes for my Dusky track walk which I start on Monday. They are made from 3.6oz/yd2 Dyneema fabric. Paired with a pair of  down socks from (approx 50 grams per pair), I should have nice dry, warm feet at the end of what is usually a fairly wet slog each day. I will post the pattern and instructions when I get back (promise).

See also:


15/04/2017: Kim Jong-un has about a week to live: You just don’t tangle with ‘The Don’. Watch him sort out a heap of ‘impossible’ problems left over by the ineffectual, indeed quisling Clinton/Obama maladministration. Last week he was showing Assad and Putin who was boss. This week Korea. Next on the list has to be Iran.


15/04/2017: Terrorists are seeking a cost-of-living (dying?)  indexation rise. Unbelievable:


15/04/2017: Australia’s Debts (both public and private) are horrific and suicidal. A crash (like the 1890s) is inevitable unless we ‘find’ a government which can force us to step back from the abyss:


14/04/2017: Camper Crane: As you know we have a slide on camper for our Defender. These usually come with detachable wind-up legs which are quite awkward to operate. I decided to instead suspend the camper on this crane arrangement in the old dairy for easy installation/removal. In addition, I bolted some 4”x4”s to the floor so that the truck would be forced into exactly the right position when I wanted to place the camper on it, then it is a quick and simple matter to bolt it to the deck. A couple of minutes and we are off on our next trip . See you!


Camper suspended above tray height. There is a crane (red above) at each of four corners.

The camper is connected to the crane with eye bolts and chain.

Detail from above.


This is quite a simple arrangement and really makes it enormously easier to fit the camper to the truck. I recommend you do something similar. I bought these cranes from eBay for about $150 each.


14/04/2017: Discernment or Discrimination: Back when I was a teacher, it was easy to see where ‘bad teachers’ often went wrong: they just could not tell the difference between ‘good students’ and ‘bad students’ and insisted on ‘punishing’ the former and being lenient to the latter. The result: chaos, lots of discipline problems and poor learning outcomes for all. You were probably all in such a class at some time in your school career. Mercifully, usually such teachers usually did not stay long. Our social policies such as justice, immigration and welfare have long suffered from the same syndrome. We punished the legal owners of firearms with draconian laws, for example for the atrocious misdeeds of a tiny minority of illegal firearm owners, when such upright citizens are the very folk whose every help society needs most. This lack of discernment by John Howard (and others) after Port Arthur lost the Lberals (especially) a large slice of conservative or mainstream voters which they have ever since struggled to win back. Of course Labor has been unable to win them either. Our ‘welfare’ policies again just continue to reward bad behaviour, often the same bad behaviour that we all saw go unchecked by that bad teacher at school – or the bad parent in public. Again and again such ‘welfare’ recipients grow fat (literally) at the public trough without anything in return being required from them – let alone a check on their rampant breeding habits. The honest hard-working taxpayer is punished with punitive taxes to pay for the excesses of the indigent. Similarly when DFAT warned that some immigrant groups would not assimilate (some Moslem groups after the Lebanese Civil War back in the 70s or some black Africans early this century, their warnings were either ignored or willfully overturned. The disproportionate crime rates among some African groups (up to 70 times the average) and the fact that practically all of our terrorist ‘problems’ originate in the former group are cases in point. These are not mistakes we can afford to just keep making. We need to develop a lot more discernment and discrimination. These were once words which showed you owned some wisdom. The ’elites’ have turned them into negatives. In reality it is the ‘elites’ which are the problem – and their ‘solutions!


14/04/2017: ‘I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements.’


13/04/2017: My post from two years ago today: Meaningless Universe: Far too many young folks think so – but they are wrong! I woke in the night having a philosophical dream, the result of a mis-spent youth at Sydney Uni perhaps. Its motto, ‘Sidere Mens Eadem Mutato’ (Horace = 'the stars change, the mind remains the same’) has a deep resonance with me still. What a privilege it was for Della and I to attend that great institution (in its heyday!) courtesy perhaps of our and Menzies ‘Commonwealth Scholarship’?) I yet remember many night-time conversations (I was a night student all my University studies) with our greatest philosopher the (late) David Armstrong outside his rooms underneath ‘the tree in the quad’, the tree which was planted (as was the quad - to mirror Bishop Berkeley’s tree & Oxford Uni). The tree which remained, as it was ever perceived by God. David was the C20th greatest Empiricist. A privilege also to have been his student. Certainly he would not have found the universe meaningless; indeed (as my dream concluded) such a concept is impossible. Only a hypothetical universe without an observer would (necessarily) be; ours could not! It may even be ‘the best of all possible worlds’ as Leibniz maintained. Certainly, despite even this trick knee, the prospect of a week’s walking (hobbling) in the wondrous enriching forests of Fiordland leads me to conclude, it is!


12/04/2017: Yarra Falls Shelter House: A reader has located the ruins of this magical place and forwarded some wonderful photos: ‘It is on the SouthWest side of the junction fairly high up, where the treeferns diminish (beneath one of the highest on the edge of the spur). It is extremely difficult to find and you could walk within a few metres and pass it.’

The chimney. The blue and white "Gentlemen" sign was found in the debris on the concrete slab and is fired enamel on steel.

The Fireplace.

Tag inside chimney.

Evidence of split timber formwork in chimney construction. Fireplace.


Henry Short and Robert Hoddles oil and water colour paintings of Upper Yarra Falls. Short incorrectly assumes this is Starvation Creek.

Main falls 2011.

Main fall Upper Yarra Falls 1910 and 2011


12/04/2017: The ABC is seriously out of control. Their contrived ‘stories’ are too often offensive to intelligent observers, (such as the beat-ups over Donvale or Indonesian abattoirs) but warning jihadists that Pauline Hanson was soon to visit Afghanistan is wantonly evil. Our politicians deserve our nation’s protection – we can decimate them at the polls, not some lunatic in a hijab:


12/04/2017: Expect the end of women’s sport: If you’re a talented young male athlete and you want to make absolutely certain you win track and field events, here’s a perfect strategy


11/04/2017: More Dusky Adventures: I start on the track on Monday for ten days. As you travel to work on Monday, you can imagine me at the same time standing on the deck of a small boat (Nimu) chugging across beautiful Lake Hauroko en route to the Dusky. Walking the track takes seven days though if you are young and very fit, you might double up a couple of shorter sections into one day reducing the trip to five days or less. If you do not travel to Supper Cove (sheer insanity – it is the most beautiful part of the trip), it could be shorter yet. I will be taking my time, spending a couple of days at Supper Cove fishing and moose ‘hunting’.



See also:


11/04/2017: Ultralight Travel Toothbrush: Not an ultralight hiking toothbrush perhaps. For that most folks cut their standard toothbrush in half, but this one is really good for travel, being very slim, compact and light and giving very nearly as good a result as a rechargeable such as the Braun or OralB, but without needing a power socket or all that extra space/weight. It is also very comfortable and non-slippery to the hand.  Colgate® 360°® Optic White™ Battery-Powered Toothbrush: 36 grams inc battery, comes in Soft and Medium. I have tried a heap of battery powered toothbrushes over the years: this one is by far the best, smallest and lightest. At that weight too I have no doubt some people will take it (and some floss) hiking too. The floss can come in handy for repairs, or for fishing:

See also:


11/04/2017: ‘Any means-tested welfare payment provides an incentive to be poor’. Nick Cater. Just repeat this over and over to yourself until you get it:. Our Governments waste most of our money. Mostly they waste it on bludgers whom we would not give the time of day to, let alone a helping hand. A helping boot up the arse, maybe! And they throw the money at these wastrels without expecting a sou in return! Wickedly poor investment strategy. Disastrous moral policy. Government should be about ensuring that people become their best selves, not reinforce folks in being their worst selves. If you keep on rewarding bad behaviour, which is what almost all ‘welfare’ is, you will be repaid with plenty more of it. Apart from our money being thrown away on welfare per se (35% of the Budget!), most of the remainder also goes to ‘service’ these same folks; other big ticket items include: Public transport (2%), Justice (?%), Education (8%), Health (16%), the Public Service (6%), public Media ($2 billion!), Recreation (seriously, 1%) Housing 2% Interest 5% (and rising!) Some of these items are even more (mis) represented in State Government Budgets (particularly, Justice, Education, Public Transport. Less than 5% is spent on Defence or other worthwhile projects. Over two thirds is spent on welfare with no meaningful return, not even gratitude. This is charity gone mad! We need to decrease spending and taxes! Here’s a graphic indicating totals and percentages from the 2013 Budget:…/interactive-budget-2013-whe…/4682404


11/04/2017: How Mad is the Left? South Australia just blew up Port Augusta, its last viable coal-fired power station even though they have already had several state-wide blackouts as a result of closing it. I hope here in Vic we can hold off demolishing Hazelwood until folk see the decision to close it was premature and ill-advised, so that if it can be re-commissioned to save us from similar blackouts and we can work at replacing it with something more modern, but just as reliable:

10/04/2017: You may want to get a pet raccoon after this:  

10/04/2017: Guy Builds Water Cooled, 72,000 Lumen LED Flashlight and Takes it for a Nighttime Stroll:


10/04/2017: Oh Wow: The Difference Between Sex Change Operations and Severing Spinal Cords:


10/04/2017: This is what happens as a consequence of letting folks flood into your country and ultimately taking it over, as happened in SA – there were no Bantu there when Europeans arrived and for 300 years thereafter, only Bushman and Hottentots who are not responsible for these awful crimes. The Bantu were C19th invaders (Remember ‘Zulu’ – who were one such tribe?) We will face the same sort of horror here in time (apart from losing our country) if we continue with our current indiscriminate immigration policies:


09/04/2017: Super Simple Trail Meal: Take one packet of Ainsley Harriot's Spice Sensation Cous Cous (100 grams) 1492 kj (352 calories) plus ½ packet (65 grams) Craisins Fruit & Nut Trail Mix 1389 kj(332 calories) Totals (165 grams) 2881 kj (684 calories) = 4.14 calories per gram. Just boil 2/3 of a cup of water (approx 6 mls meths) and add to the couscous, stir and wait a couple of minutes for it to fluff up, toss through the trail mix. Eat. Delicious!


09/04/2017: Extraordinary: Falling Sea Level: The Critical Factor in 2016 Great Barrier Reef Bleaching!


09/04/2017: ‘One Ring to Bind Them’. The odious oppression of the ‘elites’:

08/04/2017: The Thylacine Returns: Here’s hoping that ‘Tassie’ follows the Night Parrot and other such ‘beasties’ back from extinction. We once tried to hunt ‘The Inverloch Tiger’ with hounds, but the hounds just would not give chase, and only behaved very strangely. Perhaps this was because it really was something different (from the foxes and deer they were used to trailing) - as I understand hounds have to be specially trained eg to hunt big cats such as mountain lions in the US. On the oher hand I have encountered both a striped fox and a striped dingo over the years, so I will wait until they have the ‘snark’ in their hands before I agree ‘Tassie’ is back from the dead:

Benjamin, the last thylacine in captivity, at Beaumaris Zoo Hobart in 1933.

08/04/2017: This is a great idea: Before you climb onto the ‘support’ bandwagon for some (new) Government initiative, ask yourself whether the ‘poor taxpayer’, ‘the woman in the street’ really wants her money thrown away on this latest boondoggle:

08/04/2017: A letter to Malcolm: Thanks for the blackouts to come:


07/04/2017: Turnbullus Pachdermus: The Liberal Party seems to have found every reason for last year’s election debacle except the two obvious ones: the absence of Tony Abbott and the presence of Malcolm. Conservative voters loathe Turnbull (just as most everyone loathes Shorten). Please, hurry up and give us a proper PM!


07/04/2017: Nihil ex nihilo’ (‘Nothing from nothing’) used to be a popular saying, mostly followed by ‘ergo Deum’ (‘Therefore God’). For long this approach: the attempt to understand and explain the ‘Universe’ by reason (once, alone) was supplanted gradually by ‘the scientific method’ (or ‘epistemology’ in philosophical terms, ie that which ‘we’ can apprehend with the senses). Of course the former reasoning was shown (reductio ad absurdum) to be fallacious in that, if used as a ‘proof’ of the necessity of a ‘God’ it also required the existence of prior ‘things’ to create ‘God’ and so on ad infinitum. The religious mentality resiled at the idea of the ‘Big Bang’ ie the ‘universe’ coming into existence out of ‘nothing’, but there IS definitive scientific proof of ‘things’ coming into existence out of ‘’nothing’ (as required by Quantum Theory). In ‘reality’ the exact amount of matter/energy appearing ‘out of (discrete ‘quantities’) of nothing’ has been measured and quantified by physicists today (and may even one day provide all our energy needs!) Only so much can be learned by reason; even then you have to be very careful of the truth of ‘axioms’ , first principles, premises – and also of the validity of the argument…


07/04/2017: The concept of natural 'balance' or 'harmony' was always a silly, unsupported quasi-religious concept - I always preferred Shakespeare's 'nature red in tooth and claw' personally. But it is encouraging to see this study showing that without intervention natural systems decline - much like the paucity we see in 'old growth' forests as compared with the profligacy we observe in secondary regrowth:

06/04/2017: Catching Your Breath - Walking Uphill: I am often gob-smacked by just how bright Willis Eschenbach is, but THIS observation was astonishing. Could breathing OUT more combat the breathlessness you get by strenuous walking uphill. I tried this out on my recent hunting trip, and it’s TRUE. I was able to walk in one go to the top of hills I normally have to pause several times to ascend and arrive completely NOT out of breath. Try it yourself:

The 'Road' to Lobuche.

'He said “You’re not breathing out enough.”

He explained that particularly when we’re swimming, but also with any exercise, people usually end up panting, taking very rapid, shallow breaths. We focus on breathing in, on forcing more air into our lungs. He said that the way to break that habit was simple—when you start running short of air, don’t mess with the in-breath, just breathe out for one count longer.

He pointed out that when we swim or run, we usually fall into a pattern. With me, when I swam I breathed out and then took an in-breath with every alternate stroke of my arms. He said when I ran short of air, there was no need to mess with the in-breath—what I had to do was just add one more beat to the out-breath. So for example, if I was running, I was in the habit of breathing in for two steps and out for two steps. When I started running out of breath, I needed to lengthen my out-breath to three steps … and then if that wasn’t enough, lengthen the out-breath to four steps, and so on.

And that was it. There’s no need to make any alteration to the in-breath, we’re all really good at that part. Filling up the lungs isn’t the problem, it’s emptying the lungs.'

Another useful breathing technique:

First Published on: Sep 29, 2013

06/04/2017: Breathes There The Man... from The Lay Of The Last Minstrel

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)


Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

'This is my own, my native land!'

Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,

As home his footsteps he hath turned,

From wandering on a foreign strand!

If such there breathe, go, mark him well;

For him no Minstrel raptures swell;

High though his titles, proud his name,

Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;

Despite those titles, power, and pelf,

The wretch, concentred all in self,

Living, shall forfeit fair renown,

And, doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,

Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.


06/04/2017: The recent London ‘incident’ which ‘incidentally’ killed five people, was in fact an Islamophobia ‘trigger event’ – this according to the Met Police! What hope is there?


06/04/2017: Gillian Triggs. What a monster! More horror from the woman who left her child to die: Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home,” If only she could do something to stop it, she would! Our hero! She has a plan: & &

05/04/2017: Breathing Trick That Puts You to Sleep in Seconds: I always go straight to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but I know some people toss and turn, especially in the wilds. Here's how to go out to it just like flicking a switch:

1. Before you begin, place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth just above your teeth and keep it there throughout the exercise.

2. Exhale completely through your mouth quite forcefully so you make a "whoosh" sound.

3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly and softly through your nose for a mental count of four.

4. Hold your breath and count to seven.

5. Next, exhale completely through your mouth, making another whoosh sound for eight seconds in one large breath.

6. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three times for a total of four breaths.

A good pillow is a big help. here's one I use:

Another useful breathing technique:

04/04/2017: A Snowflake apogee: The dreadful oppression of transgender women by pussy hats:


04/04/2017: Terrible. Another disaster for free speech. When will we stop putting up with this tyranny? ‘Internationally renowned author and anti-Islam campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali has cancelled her upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand, citing security concerns as one of the reasons for the decision. Syed Murtaza Hussain of the Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia Inc…informed Festival Hall in Melbourne there would be 5000 protesters outside the venue if the engagement went ahead.’


04/04/2017: Not long before his sudden and premature death, Australian Energy Market Operator chief Matt Zema spoke candidly at a private conference of power-industry executives. The enormous subsidies heaped on renewables, he said, mean one thing and only one thing: "The system must collapse": First day post Hazelwood – Tassie Hydro props up Eastern electricity grid:


03/04/2017: An early morning reflection:





03/04/2017: The more things change: ‘Two blokes and a cocker spaniel don’t make a family,’ Paul Keating. John Slater, ‘I hate to break it to the rainbow fascists, but the cause of diversity is poorly served by quashing dissent and publicly humiliating anyone who dares to stand in your way. Two plus two does not equal five, freedom is not slavery and launching a corporate jihad against those whose views differ to your own does not make you tolerant.’

03/04/2017: Cursive, phonics, times tables…when will we return to education as the primary goal in Australia?


03/04/2017: Paul is right Pauline: You can end Halal Certification Now:

02/04/2017: Quote of the day: 'Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys'. P J O'Rourke.

02/04/2017: This guy is right: a ‘lone wolf’ who uses encrypted message service ‘WhatsApp’ minutes before his terrorism is not acting alone. The self-identified Moslem Bourke St terrorist had similarly sought out or been sought out by ISIS & etc to carry out his dastardly acts, and is not acting alone. The important identifier is that he clearly felt himself to be a member of a group:

02/04/2017: Gender expression is basically a fashion choice ‘...enshrining certain sorts of pseudo-scientific presuppositions into law.’ Man Self-Identifies as a Hen:  &

02/04/2017: God, save us from Al Gore!

02/04/2017: This chap can wear his feet backwards. Should come in handy sometime:

02/04/2017: Merkel. The woman is mad or evil or both:

02/04/2017: Saw my first waterspout today! It was only a small one, about a metre high, and it appeared suddenly while we were gazing at the Mitchell River, at the Mitchell River Silt Jetties where the river flows into Lake King. Of course, I didn't have my camera to hand and this picture was taken after the event....and no doubt I missed the only chance I will ever have to photograph one...but it was so exciting! There was no wind detectable and I heard a sound very similar to leaves in a willy willy. Then the spout appeared, a twirling vortex of misty spray dancing about a metre high above the water surface. I stood mesmerized (well, apart from calling to Steve to "Look at that" without any indication of what "that" was). We both gazed transfixed as it danced on past us and then meandered over to the other side of the river, taking about 2 minutes or so before it disappeared. I was sure that it was a "watersprite ", a word that came go me from Shakespeare, I suspect. My googling of the phenomenon threw up the more mundane term "spout", but it will always be a magical sprite to me after taking 63 years to show itself! Must be time for a unicorn sighting next!

Image may contain: sky, tree, plant, cloud, outdoor, nature and water

01/04/2017: The guy is just wrong. Doesn’t matter what kids read – as long as they read. If you can get them reading comics, magazines or horror stories, just do it:

01/04/2017: Weird people: ‘Leftists Attack V.P. Mike Pence For Being Loyal to His Wife!’ I mean no-one surely goes out on ‘dates’ after they are married – else what is marriage about?

01/04/2017: Blond Bay, Roseneath Reserve, Hollands Landing…Gippsland is just magical. Where else can you drive right to a wild lakeshore amongst the banksias to camp for the night, be serenaded by vast flocks of black swans (and the occasional bark of a hog deer) then be woken to a glorious sunrise where waterbirds hunt the dawn? (And with an internet connection!)

Spot is mesmerised by it too.

Pelican at Holland’s Landing.

Gulls scour the surface watching for minnows rising.

Then drop and pounce.

A family of divers on their morning swim.

A gull combs the surface: So many birds.

31/03/2017: More Gippsland Secrets: Here are another half dozen beautiful Gippsland places that I love


Sale Common: This is a truly wonderful walk starting at the old Port (on the right as you enter Sale from the West). You can easily spend a whole day meandering along its many paths and enjoying breathtaking wildlife views just a toddle from the town centre.

 Ross Creek: A little more out-of-the-way. As you travel up from Erica/Walhalla to Woods Point, after you pass the Mt Victor Spout on your left you will see a number of tracks marked Ross Creek. You should take the last (third) of these (which has the gentlest incline). At the end of the track walk up the creek to the ruins of this delightful C19th mining settlement.  This is a huge boiler which the forest is making its own.

 Macailster Gorge: You will have to canoe down the Macalister from Basin Flat to Cheynes Bridge river height permitting (or walk downstream from Burgoyne's Track). The cliffs which mark the beginning of the gorge have a distinctive Chinese look.

Snowy Bluff: Again this is a walk into one of our fabled 'wilderness areas'. The Mt Darling-Snowy Bluff Wilderness was set aside by Joan Kirner back in the 1980s. Few people visit. You walk in from Dimmock's Lookout on the Mt Howitt Rd above Arbuckle Junction. The going is thick in places as the road has overgrown (this will lessen as more people make their way to it). It is better treated as an overnight trip. There is water in the Mt Darling creek (right of photo). So many things named after Governor Darling.

Wingan Inlet: Little Cormorants make their home right at the inlet's mouth. You access this trip (on good gravel roads) from Cann River. So many beautiful things to see along the Croajinalong Coast.

Combienbar: In East Gippsland is one of those places you have often seen the turn-off to but never ventured nearer. Do! It is a place of utterly astounding beauty.

See also:

30/03/2017: Cooking for men? Or you could try Steve's Nepali Dahl Soup. Now with Della’s ‘seal of approval’!


30/03/2017: Expect more of this as the blackouts hit and increase. No doubt Hazelwood could have been (could still be) saved by just such a similar paltry injection of cash. Meanwhile this morning is likely the last day you could have viewed the eerie mists above the Hazelwood Pondage which were such a feature of the farm we owned for years right across the road from it – such that we called it ‘Brigadoon’. No doubt the Barramundi are already beginning to suffer, and will soon die:


30/03/2017: So, not all of the Government waste is down to Labour. Turnbull could find some savings by cutting this little piggie from the public teat:


29/03/2017: Hazelwood’s final day. The AEMO’s final report now blames renewables for the SA blackout. Many more to come on account of this absolutely mad energy policy - and right to the last, Hazelwood produced more power constantly and reliably than all the useless wind generators in Australia. We shall go down there this afternoon to say a final tearful farewell to our beautiful old friend who has served us so nobly for so long, of course still hoping that it will yet live again:


29/03/2017: From Shirt To Puffy: Imagine a light shirt that automatically puffs out into a jacket when the temperatures drop. A textile lab is working on a fabric to do just that. This is a step upwards from the inflatable clothing I have written about before. I think it still has a way to go before it replaces wonderful down garmens such as Montbell’s, but it sure is an interesting development:


Like this:


See also:


29/03/2017: Some good news: Brownie The Town Dog's Grave.

Owned by no one but beloved by all, Brownie was a good dog:  


29/03/2017: Erdogan, the Turkish dictator is a serious concern; He said, ‘If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets’


29/03/2017: Perhaps you can leave it all to the cat: I thought this had all gone out of the window long ago (under Whitlam) and that Andrews’ new ‘marriage’ rules had been the final nail in its coffin, but maybe not so. I won’t be changing my will, but you might think of consulting a solicitor if you think ‘Tiddles’ needs more;

28/03/2017: New Ultralight Survival Shelter: Terra Nova Superlite Bothy Bags. There are occasions when you just may not survive unless you have a roof, even when you are planning to arrive at a hut or paid accommodation (See: If you are not carrying a tent (or even an umbrella See eg or  you should think about one off these. This new model from Terra Nova weighs only 253 grams, shaving 100 grams off the one I own. I carried this one: on my Everest Base Camp walk (see eg:

It weighed 350 grams which may seem a lot to haul 5 ½ kilometers into the sky when I didn’t need it! Then again, I haven’t needed a funeral plan yet either, and I’m not complaining!

Available at Massdrop right now for US$79.99: Superlite Bothy Bag

Superlite Bothy 2

For 2 people

Fabric: 70gsm polyester with PU coating

Silicone-coated fabrics

Dimensions, packed: 5.1 x 4.3 in (13 x 11 cm)

Weight: 8.9 oz (253 g)

If you were sitting on your Neoair Xlite Women's in there on your CycloneChair you should survive the night in warm clothes even if it gets down well below freezing, and the rain is pouring down - otherwise you would die!

Superlite Bothy 4

For 4 people

Dimensions, packed: 7.9 x 4.7 in (20 x 12 cm)

Weight: 14.1 oz (400 g)

28/03/2017: Snow Goose is Good food: Absolutely. I’m sure there are many interesting ‘bush meats’ might be added to that cornucopia too here in Oz. Throw for koala, echidna, platypus…on the barbie: Includes recipes!


28/03/2017: Malcolm’s Snowy ‘Thought Bubble’ starts to unravel – not that he will get it through the Senate when the Greens realize there will be less water for the environment and that the three spotted newt may suffer mental disfunction as a result! The $2 billion would be far better spent rescuing Hazelwood and replacing/refurbishing it with up-to-date ‘clean coal’ technology. The first two generators were turned off yesterday. Generator 6 had been running constantly for over 49 years! Three more cease today, another three tomorrow. Last night we had blackouts in Morwell and Traralgon to ‘celebrate’. Many more to come. I am investigating the DIY Junkyard Battery:


Ron Pike, retired irrigation farmer and water consultant writes: ‘As a retired executive officer, strategic engineering, from the Snowy Mountains Authority, Max Talbot, told the ABC last week: “This appears to be no more than a thought bubble about something we rejected as too expensive over 20 years ago.”


Talbot explained: “Pumped storage hydro requires about 20 per cent more energy to pump the water than is returned to the system when that water is used to generate electricity...


“Therefore it is only commercial when the differential between peak and off-peak prices (is) far greater than 20 per cent.”....


As Talbot pointed out, this scheme was considered and dismissed in the 1980s...


To generate the additional 2000MW of power the PM claims this scheme could produce would require pumping at least 1000 megalitres of water every day back up to Tantangara Dam from Talbingo Dam, a lift of more than 600m. The power required to do this in the hours of off-peak load is almost 15 per cent of the total NSW baseload production.’ Sack Turnbull Today!


28/03/2017: Safe nuclear waste disposal: This series on the secrets of nuclear energy have been just great:


28/03/2017: ‘It appears that at least one person has perjured himself over this and that one person is FBI Director Comey. There’s no way to square his testimony with these new revelations. The best he can do is split hairs and claim he was not part of the spying effort. Of course, there’s no way to touch him as he runs the FBI. In fact, there’s no way to investigate any of the intelligence organizations. This is the point where many of the robot historians of the future will say the American political class murdered itself.’ The death throes of American democracy...


27/03/2017: Astronaut who walked on the moon: ‘why I know aliens haven’t visited Earth’. I thought it was a great headline too. I really liked his argument. But there is much more to Alan bean than that. He is also a gifted artist who encompasses real moon dust in his works:


27/03/2017: Ultralight Keyboard Warriors: I took a side-trip to Reddit to re-post some of my ideas/adventures thinking ‘like minded’ people there might be interested, people at such sub-reddits as Bushcraft, Ultralight, Wilderness Backpacking, Camping and Hiking for example. You would think so, wouldn’t you? There was considerable interest from the readership, as you might imagine.


Unfortunately, like much of the media, these ‘sub-reddits’ are controlled by a small clique of control-freaks and extremists – by and large very rude people as well! Even though I sought (and gained) prior approval to share these posts from their ‘moderators’, nonetheless they were universally condemned and/or removed by the moderators and their extremist allies even though clearly the great majority of Reddit readers (ie 19 out of every 20) just came over for a look and most stayed for a much longer visit –and I thank them for it! The clique staged a massed campaign of ‘down-voting’ as well as frivolous, rude and contemptuous commenting – this from folk who have not a shadow of our bush experience - and much of it carried on in secret (from the 'community') in that it occurred after my posts were taken down in contravention of an expressed promise otherwise. I should mention that neither the moderator at MYOG or Trail Meals acted like this, indeed quite the contrary (and thank you) - but there are many negative commentators nonetheless who serve only to alienate people like me from engaging with Reddit.


If such social media is to persist, the 95% need to wrest control from the 5%, else it will ultimately fail, or society itself will fail. This extremist ‘cell’ revolutionary method has ever been the means by which democracy has been overthrown by fascists, communists and other enemies of society. Evidently much the same behaviour applies also at Twitter. Facebook (with its emphasis on ‘liking’) seems much friendlier. Pinterest and Instagram even moreso.


Needless to say, I will be abandoning Reddit. It is (at least as presently constituted) a quite anti-social ‘social medium’, and I suggest you also avoid it, as it is likely only to upset you, as it has me. I will concentrate on improving the acessability of my site.


I noticed, whilst this was going on, that for some mysterious reason Word Press has shrunk nearly all my photos (some so that they are almost impossible to make out). It is a mysterious vehicle. Apparently you can click on them to see a larger version, but I’m sure people would like a larger, clearer image at the outset – so, I will work my way gradually through the nearly 900 posts and enlarge all the photos, many thousands of them. This may take some time, and naturally posting will be a bit lighter while I get this done.


I also noticed that the meta tags (at the bottom of each post - which is what helps the search engine find the post when you do a search for a particular topic) are missing on most of my posts. A search engine therefore might not find some of my ‘camp shoe’  orSouth Coast track Fiordland’ & etc posts (to give an example), even though there might not be any other appropriate posts anywhere on the net on that topic. This is an even bigger job and will take some time. Please bear with me.


Oh, and thank you for your continuing support (including many messages of such) here at ‘The Ultralight Hiker’. So far I have only ever had one slightly negative comment which was down to poor wording rather than malice – which is nice. As I’m sure you understand, this blog is ‘a labour of love’. Such support is appreciated.


Meanwhile, my wonderful new NBN interent connection is playing up again (as always) and is just so slow. I need to see if I can negotiate with the ISP/NBN to get this improved. The ‘information super highway’ is just crawling along here…No doubt others have the same problem.


27/03/2017: Turnbull is still 10 points behind in the latest Ipsos Poll. He is dead meat. He must be replaced by Tony Abbott this week so Hazelwood (and our power supplies) can be saved. Ring a pollie today.


Poll crash


27/03/2017: Control, censor, ban or kill. That is the first recourse of tyrants of the Left and their Moslem ‘allies’, not debate or dialogue You will remember how they successfully banned Geert Wilders’ visit (representing the largest bloc in the Dutch Parliament). Now they seek to ban this lady too who has suffered so much already from Islam, not the least being mutilation. She need to be celebrated, not crucified. Of course she already has a fatwah against her, and must have 24 hour protection:


See also: ‘Western intellectuals accuse the liberal from the Muslim world of being a racist against Muslims, or an Islamophobe, or a “native informant” and a tool of imperialism. Sometimes they accuse the liberal from the Muslim world of stupidity, too, or lack of talent. This was Salman Rushdie’s experience in the years after he came out with The Satanic Verses, back in 1988, which he has described in his memoir Joseph Anton. The experience of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, originally from Somalia, offers probably the most widely discussed example after Rushdie’s. But the pattern of Western condemnation can be observed in many other cases as well, directed at liberal writers of different kinds and views’


26/03/2017: Too true: 'With all the many problems facing the biosphere (man being its parasite in chief), the arrival in the Dutch parliament of the Party for the Animals is a small step forward—but it is not enough. Everyone knows (or ought to know) that man could not live for a day, for a second, without bacteria. I therefore hope and expect before the end of my life to see the emergence of a Bacterial Liberation Front, to save bacteria from the ravages of antibiotics.'


26/03/2017: Environmentalists Aren’t Just Wrong. They’re Loathsome And Evil Too: I have to agree with Delingpole: Folks who are already responsible for 100 million unnecessary deaths (from malaria) on account of their hyped DDT ban, and who would like to see one third of humanity starve to death or all the remaining wilderness in the world destroyed (which would be the consequence of returning to 'organic' agriculture) are just not nice.


26/03/2017: I think folks who vote for Labor & the Greens should have to pay a larger proportion of their income in tax to help pay for their spendthrift ideas. So long as I am being forced to pay, I want none of their policies - or their debts! Problem is, most of the Lefties don't pay any tax, do they? It’s so easy spending other people’s money.


25/03/2017: A judge in the UK recently described a criminal before him as ‘a self-confessed liar’. I wonder about the judge’s ability to arrive at ‘truth’ by this reductionist method! Which ‘lie’ is he accepting as ‘truth’?


25/03/2017: Lone (or lobo) wolf attacks. Nothing can be done? Poppycock! For a start we can prevent them by removing all their supporters from our countries - along with their mosques, halal scams and sharia law demands. But in any case we can do what Saddam used to do, or what the Israelis do. When there is an attack, punish the entire family of the attacker. Saddam used to kill them all. Effective, but perhaps too extreme for snowflakes. The Israelis simply go around to the guy’s house (it always is) and demolish the family home with an excavator! If you make his family pay, they will stop him – or warn the authorities if they can not. Almost always they are complicit anyway.


25/03/2017: How do you turn corn into cars? ‘If capitalism – which is to say, human ingenuity set free to follow its own natural course – is a kind of social machine, then politicians are something like children who take apart complex machines without understanding what they do or how to put them back together. (At their worst, they are simply saboteurs.) When they rail against capitalism, automation, trade, and the like, they resemble nothing so much as those hominids at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, shrieking hysterically at something that is simply beyond their comprehension.’ This is a truly great essay:

24/03/2017: Trump chose well with Rick Perry: From a 2016 interview:

‘Kimmel: "You once shot a coyote while jogging."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry: "True."
Kimmel: "You jog with a gun?"
Perry: "I do interviews with a gun."’

24/03/2017: Trump vindicated: Further to Comey’s ‘inadvertent’ admission (22/3) I also notice one of the US govt snoops admitted today that they might have ‘inadvertently’ tapped Trump’s phones. The noose is closing Obama! I wonder what the ‘fake news’ will make of this!

24/03/2017: Save Hazelwood, bring back Abbott: I see this morning Tony backing my idea of the Federal Government taking over our beautiful power station in order to protect us from the many blackouts we are certain to have next summer and in the future generally, maybe even this winter if it is a bad one. Ring a pollie today!

24/03/2017: Heaven knows I don’t much like Malcolm Turnbull, but the piece of scum who is being offered up to us by the Labor Party as his alternative is much more than beneath contempt. A thief, a liar and a rapist – these all figure largely in his CV! See, eg: &

24/03/2017: And then there is there piece of scum the Greens have put up, Mr $3.75/hr: Entirely beneath contempt (and laughable to boot):

23/03/2017: Breakfast this morning: Growlers on the Western Tyers: even with an internet connection (external antenna) so that I could send these pics! The two river views are outside my 'bedroom window'. With Spot & Tiny. Off to Kirchubel today!

The river is just outside the window:

View upstream:

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor, nature and water

View downstream:

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor, nature and water

23/03/2017: Ultralight Glasses Case: 12 grams: If you have got to my age (or had other bad luck) you no doubt need glasses. I now wear progressive frameless titanium glasses (14 grams) all the time, but I also need a spare pair in case I lose or break them. The quite lightweight case they came in from Zenni weighs 47 grams (blue below). I knew I could do better. Like this:

As you can see I have also managed to fit in a pair of clip on sunglasses, Weight 4.5 grams eg to prevent snow blindness!

This is 350 ml (12 oz) PET drink bottle I cut down with a craft knife (I should have left a tiny bit more of the neck) and some bubble wrap = 12 grams, a saving over over an ounce ie more than the weight of a muesli bar on the trail, or more than enough weight of fuel (metho) to cook a meal. Every little bit of weight saved helps lighten the load and means you can go a little bit further, easier. I could have even cut down on the (used) bubble wrap a little more.

Here it is compared with my old glasses case.


Indeed switching to these frameless glasses (two pairs) also saved me over an ounce (28.5 grams)! I have simply rolled the glasses up in the bubble wrap and squeezed them through the neck. These flexible titanium frames are quite difficult to break anyway: you can just about stand on them, so they will be fine in the ‘possibles’ bag in my pack.

This ultralight glasses case has been safely stowed (without any due care) in my pack now for over a year and maybe a thousand miles. All its contents came out perfectly for a photo this morning.

See also:

otions.23/03/2017: The blackouts to come: Understand this: the myth of renewable energy is what is getting us into this mess, but renewables cannot produce energy reliably, cheaply or even with as small an environmental impact as fossil fuel or nuclear. (Think of the pollution and misery involved in the Niobium industry, the millions of dead birds and bats, etc)…/by-the-numbers-lifetime-perf…/ Meanwhile Hazelwood continues to churn out more electricity per day than all Australia’s wind farms combined, but only for three more days…/hazelwood-countdown-53-years-ol…/ unless the Federal Government acts now. Ring a pollie today!


22/03/2017: O’Shanessy Aquaduct Trail:


Upper Yarra Track Side Trip: This excellent trail which parallels the Warburton-Lilydale Rail Trail for most of its length is an alternative way to begin or end the fabulous Upper Yarra Track.


It starts/ends at the original weir built in 1914 just below the current large dam which is probably 20 times the original size. Then continues for about 40 km until it meets up with the aqueduct from Badger weir Healesville. You can now walk along the decommissioned section. There is an internet page about the story.,+O%27Shannassy,+Aug+3+and+8+2012+083.JPG


The trail runs in parallel with the Warburton Rail Trail, however, the O’Shannassy Trail is set into the mountain ranges, and therefore provides a different perspective to the environment. Surrounded by tall trees, and ferns, the trail follows the historic open channelled O’Shannassy Aqueduct, and allows for spectacular views of the Yarra Valley.’


Warburton is in the middle of the trail. The trail is on the north side of the Yarra. About 700 metres from the Yarra to the aqueduct on a well marked path. It's a good alternative to the rail trail and you can also access the weir from the Warburton -Woods Point Road about 15 km east of Warburton. There is a locked gate there which was closed to walkers until about 4 years ago but now there is a 6 km walk, that goes along a road then follows a pipeline.


If you finished the Upper Yarra Track at Big Pats Creek, you could walk into Warburton, then cross the Yarra and go up hill on Yuonga Rd to the trail. At the other end you would get off at Parrot Rd, walk along McMahons Rd, Healesville-Dalry Rd and Koo Wee Rup Rd and rejoin the Warburton-Lilydale Rail Trail for the walk in to Lilydale Railway Station.


If you are exiting the Upper Yarra Track from Big Pat's Creek Road you could instead of walking towards Warburton turn right and head upriver for a couple of kilometres to Cement Creek road and that takes you to the aqueduct via a place called Redwood Forest that has become really popular and has a huge cleared area for camping plus the clear cement creek. Map available here:


22/03/2017: Suppose the Federal Government were to compulsorily acquire Hazelwood next week using the Emergency Reserve powers of the constitution…the lights would stay on, the economy wouldn’t falter, unemployment wouldn’t increase, the government would go up in the polls, the Left would be rightly seen as the wreckers and extremists they are – after all, practically no-one seriously believes that (through CO2) humanity is doing any serious harm to the planet. No AGW has yet been detected. All the evidence so far is that the planet benefits from an increase in CO2, (the 20% increase in greening is pretty much all the evidence you would need) whether it is caused by people or not (which is still a moot point), as we continue to exit the ‘Little Ice Age’ and increasing temperatures liberate huge amounts of CO2 from the oceans where it has been trapped by cold for centuries (just like the fizz in your soda bottle!). We can pull back from this catastrophic brink at the 11th hour. Let’s re-nationalise Hazelwood. It would cost practically nothing, as its present value is entirely negative to the current owners – they currently have a bill of billions to decommission it and restore the open cut. So, at no cost to the government something can be done which will be of immense benefit to the Australian community. What a ‘win-win’ that is.

22/03/2017: Turnbull seems to have found his mojo the last few days: the attempt to rework 18c, his defence of the plebiscite and the ‘omnibus’ Bill are cases in point. It is difficult to see what sort of morality the Labor party can have in opposing them – particularly as only days ago we buried free speech martyr, Bill Leak. His son certainly agrees with me: 

22/03/2017: Clearly Trump is right. Obama had him bugged. Comey couldn’t lie straight in bed: When asked in today’s House Intelligence Committee meeting about President Trump’s tweets that the Obama Administration had put Candidate Trump and his campaign under surveillance, FBI Director James Comey said:

“I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets.”

But also:

“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

Because it is an open ongoing investigation and is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining.”

And the clincher:

It’s hard to say because I don’t how much longer it will take. But we’ve been doing this — this investigation began in late July, so for counterintelligence investigation that’s a fairly short period of time.

So, they have been investigating since July. It’s classified. They conduct an investigation without any surveillance…

22/03/2017: The World’s Great Religions: You must have heard this phrase. As if there was anything great about any religion! What’s so great about delusion, self-deception, the diversion of immense assets and effort to fantastic goals, the subjugation of billions to falsity and hatred? ‘Good manners should deter us from insulting other people over their faiths on most occasions…But these are not normal times. And the one occasion when good manners should not determine our actions is when others threaten us with death or maiming if our speech offends their faith. We are then under an obligation to defend free speech, if not by blaspheming ourselves, then at least by protecting the right to blaspheme expressed in the speech of fellow citizens. Not only does the right to free speech include the right to offend, moreover; it is largely meaningless without that right. Speech that offends no one requires no protection. Indeed… the right to be offended is also an important right because, even if we are reluctant to admit the fact, it frees us from the prison of unconsidered opinion and the prejudices of our own religious-cum-ideological community’:

21/03/2017: The Ultralight Trail Baker: You can make a baking stand (‘the Flashbaker’) out of aluminium flashing.  You just need to cut a circle a little smaller than your pot and leave three approx 1 ½” ‘legs’ on the outside of the disc which you fold down to support whatever you are cooking. (OK, this one has four legs!) This works well with a thick dough. I have often made ‘damper’ in my cook pot with such an arrangement. My original flashing ‘baker’ weighs 13.5 grams.


 L to R: Snowpeak 1400 ml Titanium Cook pot Frypan Lid, Brasslite Turbo 1D Stove, Brasslite Traillbaker, ‘Flashbaker’,  Evernew Titanium Sierra Cup, Snowpeak 1400 ml Titanium Cook Pot

 Or you can also buy Brasslite’s excellent ‘Trailbaker’ here: which weighs 50.5 grams. It would be possible to make a suspension system for an Evernew Titanium Sierra Cup (Weight 63.5 grams) which does the same thing – and doubles as a cup (Remember the ‘Hot Lips’ though: Some titanium windscreen material (if it had enough holes in it) or lightweight weldmesh rolled into a cylinder ends joined with a paper clip would probably ‘do the trick’ or a circle of thin wire with three attached hooks for suspension from the top of the billy.

 I gave up cooking 'bread' on the trail maybe ten years ago - just got so many other recipes happening I guess, and was finding it a bit tedious, especially due to advancing arthritis. I find these  good for: Of course another alternative is 'Johnny Cakes' or 'fried scones' - a great colonial Australian favourite, and a favourite with me for many years too!

The ‘Flashbaker’ just goes in your normal cook pot. This is all you need (except for a simmer stove. I use these: You don't need two pots at all, one inside the other. Of course this only worked with a stiff dough which sits on the baking disc or stand. If you want to bake a cake, or something with a runny dough, you will need something like the Trailbaker or Sierra Cup (above)

PS: Use a wad punch to make the baking disc even lighter. I figure you could take off at least 1/3 of its weight to bring it down to say 8 grams! Or you could make the baking disc (The Meshbaker') out of 1 cm stainless steel weld mesh. The holes would distribute the heat better too when baking bread.

I only ever baked bread (or 'damper' usually) usually to use for my lunch the next day, along with eg a sachet of tuna or some peanut butter. It is actually just as easy (and quicker) to make 'Johnny Cakes' or ‘Bannock’, maybe in the traditional way: on a stick! More about them, later…and my damper recipe!

A Reader Writes: ‘Bread on the trail does not have to be messy. Take a sandwich ziplock back and put in the bag

1.5c flour 1/4tsp salt 1/4tsp sugar 1/4tsp dry yeast

On the day you are going to make fresh bread add 3/4c water to the bag and mix the ingredients by kneading through the bag. Once everything is mixed work all the air out of the bag and seal it.

It will need to set for about 6 to 8 hours so you can put it in the top of your pack or leave it sitting at camp. After which the bag will be puffed up. Simply open the bag and dump it into the greased dish you are going to bake it in. Let it rest for about an hour before baking.

I have put it into an old scout pot inside the scout cook set, closed the set and buried it in coals to cook. Takes around 15 to 20 min to cook and you have fresh bread. I have seen people cook it in a used bean can that is put in there cook pot with a couple of rocks in the bottom to keep the bean can off the bottom.

No mess, no hassle, easy and can be made at the start of the hike to have it ready that night.

21/03/2017: Too True Viv: Greens are not only the enemy of the environment but of humanity & civilisation too:

21/03/2017: I have been waiting long for this: Gillard to face perjury charges: The prosecutions have begun: They will (eventually) end with Gillard in gaol and stripped of her parliamentary pension, and with the public reassured that there is justice yet!

20/03/2017: You can stop Google tracking your every move:

20/03/2017: How Trump is dumber than Bernie Sanders:

20/03/2017: ‘Textualism is a formalist theory that primarily interprets the law based on the ordinary meaning of the legal text… and not considering non-textual sources such as intention of the law when passed, the problem it was intended to remedy, or significant questions of the justice and rectitude of the law.’ Wow! I think we need more of the plain speaking I spoke about on 16/03/2017: ‘On the ineffable virtues of monosyllables and portmanteau words’:

19/03/2017: 2WD Folding Motorbike: Here’s just the thing to cut up those bush tracks even more – or you could think about walking, and saving both your money and the bush!  &


Taurus 2x2: two wheel drive system makes it very capable in boggy mud


Taurus 2x2: disassembles quickly to fit in the back of the car


See also;

19/03/2017: The Kiwis have a new sport which might soon go viral: wallaby tossing – what could be more fun:

19/03/2017: Once again Turkey (what used to be called ‘the sick old man of Europe’) is a problem. It is sick all right. Was it ever not? Just for a thousand years or so…Under their latest dictator, they threaten what will maybe be called ‘The Fifth Crusade’ when Europe finally responds. We can only hope it is not WW3! Still and all, it is about time the tide turned. Europe has long needed to push back against this burgeoning menace, not invite it into its home! The success of conservative parties in the recent Dutch election shows that Europe may at last be ready to take on this new Hitler, Erdogan and his invading army of ‘refugees’ and ‘guest workers’:

18/03/2017: Steve’s Nepali Dahl Soup: I made this dahl entirely with dried ingredients so I could make it on the trail. It made over a litre. I had trouble eating half. Very filling, tasty and nutritious. Do try it at home first. I would put the lentils in one small snap-lock bag and all the other dried ingredients in another. This soup will make a welcome change from whatever you are eating now and is very light and cheap to make.


1 cup red lentils

 3 ½ cups water

20 grams Hormel dried bacon pieces

1 table milk powder

2 teaas powdered/dried onion

½ packet Tomato cupasoup

½ teas turmeric

1 teas ground gunger

½ teas hot paprika

½ teas garam masala

½ teas coriander

Pinch groundblack papper

2 teas dried chives

1 teas garlic powder

1 teas cumin


Soak lentils 10 + minutes

Add ingredients

Bring to boil, then simmer 20 minutes.

Salt/pepper &/or curry powder (not needed) to taste

Thicken continental deb mash (not needed)

Comment: Delicious!

18/03/2017: First the fake news (Wilders lost), then the real news from Holland: Holland moves to the right. The Government lost ¼ of their seats. Labor lost ¾ of their seats. Wilders up 1/3. Shake in your boots, Angela:

18/03/2017: The great (Polish!) novelist Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) had such a turn of phrase and depth of perception (and all this genius in his third language makes me feel tongue-tied!) eg, From the description of Donkin as he boards the Narcissus: ‘Is there a spot on earth where such a man is unknown, an ominous survival testifying to the eternal fitness of lies and impudence? . . . He was the man that cannot steer, that cannot splice, that dodges the work on dark nights; that, aloft, holds on frantically with both arms and legs, and swears at the wind, the sleet, the darkness; the man who curses the sea while others work. The man who is the last out and the first in when all hands are called. The man who can’t do most things and won’t do the rest. The pet of philanthropists and self-seeking landlubbers. The sympathetic and deserving creature that knows all about his rights, but knows nothing of courage, of endurance, and of the unexpressed faith, of the unspoken loyalty that knits together a ship’s company. The independent offspring of the ignoble freedom of the slums full of disdain and hate for the austere servitude of the sea.’ A wonderful review here:

18/03/2017: I remember when I was ‘working class’ and that meant I worked in a factory, as a shop assistant, cleaner, farm labourer, fruit picker, taxi driver, etc. Now that phrase means ‘welfare class’. Immigrants eagerly flock here to take up that sort of work, but many ‘native born’ and ‘natives’ too often disdain it – or anything else that means work. The raw data shrieks at us that we cannot continue on this course: ‘40 per cent of children from jobless households are on welfare by age 20; 39 per cent of children follow their parents’ footsteps and live off the taxpayer; 12 per cent of children under 14 are growing up in jobless families’. Amongst those identifying as ‘aborigines’ the figures are even worse! Here is an instructive tale of two families, one which works and one which will not:

17/03/2017: Hoons: Recently we were up near Toorongo trying to work out a hiking route from Noojee to Tanjil Bren &/or to Mt Horsefall. (More about that soon!) We walked along this ‘closed’ road from the Toorongo No 3 Bridge to ‘Rabbit Flat’ (an interesting part of the world). The road had been ruined by dozens of these huge bog holes caused jointly by folks not owning a shovel (with which to drain them), no maintenance by the DOC, and sub-human 4WD ‘hoons’ entertaining themselves with plowing the road. The puddles were so deep poor Tiny had to swim them.

This kind of madness has to end. So does the policy of the DOC closing roads rather than maintaining them – a situation caused by their employing an army of university ‘educated’ bludgers who want to spend all day in offices having meetings or playing at computer screens or driving round in Hiluxes. Instead they should employ folks who actually want to do (physical) work (the only kind really) such as driving 4WD tractors and actually fixing the roads and/or creating and maintaining firebreaks (we have an out of control fire near Caringal this morning in an area where the tracks have also become impassable) also spraying noxious weeds and eradicating pest animals.

Neither the ‘hoons’ behaviour, nor the DOC’s strikes me as ‘conservation’ – if the greenies have not made that a dirty word for you too!

There was also some Himalayan Honeysuckle fringing parts of this track, a beautiful invasive plant much to be preferred to the ‘usual’ blackberries (also present):

17/03/2017: ‘How often we’ve seen the kind of mad superstitions that have our politicians this week struggling to keep on our lights and gas. They aren’t really new, these taboos on coal and fracking. We’ve seen such things before — irrational taboos on everything from fish and pigs to uranium and genetically modified crops. The Nuer people of Sudan and Bena Bena of Papua New Guinea, for instance, would go hungry rather than eat chickens or eggs. Tasmanian Aborigines starved rather than catch scaled fish, a taboo brought in some 4000 years ago and not shared by mainland Aborigines. Hawaiians banned women from eating bananas and coconuts until 1819. And Jews and Muslims will not eat pigs for purely religious reasons. All such taboos seem to make no sense and only make people poorer, while the powerful use them to show who’s boss — and who’s more moral. But, while the modern hipster — freed from faith — may scoff at them now, they now bow to the kind of taboos we once took as a sign of the primitive.’ (Andrew Bolt)



schrodingers cat

17/03/2017: Unbelievable: Turnbull’s ‘thought bubbles’ come crashing down: his ‘pumped hydro’scheme will consume 20% more power than it produces – as well as denying the rivers the water that farmers and ‘the environment’ need. Now there’s a ‘win-win’ idea! Unfortunately, such nonsense is Turnbull all over: 

17/03/2017: Cause and Effect are wonderful: The eruption of the Indonesian island of Tambora in 1816 plunged the world into ‘darkness’ for around a year, causing massive crop failures, the year without a summer, and widespread starvation in Europe for example. It also brought us blood-red sunsets and ‘blue moons’ on account of all the red dust in the sky. Also surprisingly it brought us the wonderful novel ‘Frankenstein’ on account of Mary Wolstencraft (Shelley) having to stay indoors all summer due to the colder than normal weather - and needing something to do

17/03/2017: Meliorism: Some of you may not be familiar with the ‘philosophical’ term Meliorism (Think: ‘ameliorate’); the meliorist insists that something ought to be done (often whilst the rest of us run around in circles crying, ‘The sky is falling!’); the meliorists’ solutions are infrequently any better than ‘Chicken Little’s’! The Left is particularly fraught with meliorists, (hence the ‘nanny state’), but the disease has infected Conservative ranks too – (as you can see from Malcolm’s two bizarre ‘renewable energy thought bubbles this week!). So pressing has the problem of meliorists become, that I am bound to say that something must be done about them!

16/03/2017: Weird and wonderful: the Strandbeest, a new life form: &

beach robot experiment strandbeest

16/03/2017: Being born is no great achievement – whatever glory it might represent for your father and mother! You should have no sense of ‘entitlement’ – how I hate that word - on account of such an apogee of creativity. May I digress? (‘Entitlement’ ie that which goes with the ‘title’ eg such as a peerage, land title, patent, etc or something owned and probably earned and purchased – we seem instead to want to mean by it today a ‘gratuity’ ie something you get ‘for free’) But, to continue: nothing much should come as a gratuity for just being born – certainly not citizenship for example, which should be earned – along with all its responsibilities and any rights which may fall your way. People might value it somewhat more if they had perforce to earn it. A pension for example, might rather devolve to you as a result of a lifetime of contributing to the enhancement and upkeep of your society, (in other words as an emolument) not on account only of having been born on a certain day – though it would be better still (for themselves and their society) if folks endeavoured vigorously and paid their own way! Instead of that we have a culture where every second person at least sincerely wishes to live exclusively by thrusting their hand in others’ pockets and extract therefrom an endless supply of golden eggs.

16/03/2017: On the ineffable virtues of monosyllables and portmanteau words. A risky way to begin this digression…Whitehead had something much like this to critique Wittgenstein with – and rightly so, in my opinion. If something was worth saying, it can be said with simple enough terms for the educated layman to clearly understand – if not, it is probably nonsense, as Wittgenstein mayhap was! I have wondered about an injuction to make such a form of communication compulsory: to limit the English language to nothing more than a few hundred simple Anglo-Saxon roots and portmanteaus constructed from them, so that anyone could immediately inderstand everything another was saying, without incessant recourse to lexicons, thesauruses and the like. You would not make that comment of the aforementioned, but what about this: ‘It is far nicer if every man speaks clearly and simply, only using plain words which every other man knows. Where a new word is needed we would join two simple words together to make it (that is a join-word) so that all knew at once what the new word meant.’ I know it might abolish much of poesy and the allure and spectacle of great literature, but it would also straightaway abolish lawyers and insurance clerks – and many other smart-arses! Maybe myself included.

16/03/2017: A revamped Snowy will probably do little to provide more energy (especially if the rains don’t fall) or if its construction is drowned out by the shrieking of snowflakes, greens etc – but we will need electricity now (in April) , as soon as Hazelwood closes, and for a good many years yet until such a project is completed. What is needed is a new base load coal-fired power station gradually replacing Hazelwood - as one is commissioned, the other is de-commisioned! A boon for fisherfolk too, as the barramundi would survive!

15/03/2017: Canada’s Great Trail: Canada has quietly been linking and constructing walking trails so that now it has a continuous trail that is over 20,000km long! We could so easily employ otherwise indoolent folk on such a worthy national project here in Australia. Much as I have been doing with this: or plan to do with this: See:

15/03/2017: Dover Beach’ by Matthew Arnold (1822-1888). This poem was for many years my favourite. (I do also really like Dylan Thomas’ ‘Fern Hill’ though!) You may be surprised to learn that I (as an atheist) particularly like the penultimate stanza. To be an atheist does not mean that one is without the deeply felt beliefs or moral principles without which a person is scarcely human. I too lament that so many today grow up without having developed any consistent set of ethical values to inform their lives…society suffers immensely for this lack. I look about me and see so many folk (50% now) who either have an addict’s dependency on society, expecting it to be their husband, mother, father, saviour or (often simultaneously) seek to tear it down in a pique of sheer nihilism…

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Some comments & discussion:

Sophocles was maybe alluding to the limits of reason. Reason is all fine and good but it comes down to values, context, wisdom/choice etc. All abstract terms that are the base line of meaning. Materialism has its limit in that it has no meaning.
Love the last stanza too. Especially ‘has neither joy, nor love, nor love.’
Need a decent red.


Ole'. 'Another and another cup to drown the memory of this impertinence'! Or more (or less) 'love'!


Yes, I agree, too much love. I take full responsibility for the typos. Over come by love. I'm sorry it wasn't joy. Maybe next time.


"Yea! In the sea of life en'isled
With echoing straits between us thrown
Dotting the boundless watery wild
We mortal millions live alone"...
Arnold's "To Marguerite" sings much the same song. Despite his desire for constancy in his relationship with his Dover Beach beloved, his isolation and longing is the overriding mood of the closing lines. Misery no longer ebbs and flows as it once did, it is now the inescapable human condition due to humanity's inability to make an abiding commitment to any relationship, religious or human.


Eleanore Rigby picks up the rice in the church where her wedding has been; lives in a dream. Welcome to existential loneliness. We all die alone. No one can do it for us.


Unless we fly Malaysian Airlines - then it becomes quite a social affair. Dying alone sounds nicely private; I don't enjoy vomiting in company, so I expect dying with others would be similarly uncomfortable. Living, on the other hand, always seems jollier with a few friends on the side.😊


Dying with 400 or 40 or on the Titanic, I do not think it matters. Life is infinitely better than any of the other alternatives. Pour me another red. In vino veritas. Life is uncertainty. Go interdependency. Go the courage to be your own person. To be a wise, kind, caring, and as possible a moral person. I go for Kant and Berlin, that nothing straight can be made from humanity.

And some more Arnold: Isolation: To Marguerite

We were apart; yet, day by day,

I bade my heart more constant be.

I bade it keep the world away,

And grow a home for only thee;

Nor fear'd but thy love likewise grew,

Like mine, each day, more tried, more true.


The fault was grave! I might have known,

What far too soon, alas! I learn'd—

The heart can bind itself alone,

And faith may oft be unreturn'd.

Self-sway'd our feelings ebb and swell—

Thou lov'st no more;—Farewell! Farewell!


Farewell!—and thou, thou lonely heart,

Which never yet without remorse

Even for a moment didst depart

From thy remote and spher{e}d course

To haunt the place where passions reign—

Back to thy solitude again!


Back! with the conscious thrill of shame

Which Luna felt, that summer-night,

Flash through her pure immortal frame,

When she forsook the starry height

To hang over Endymion's sleep

Upon the pine-grown Latmian steep.


Yet she, chaste queen, had never proved

How vain a thing is mortal love,

Wandering in Heaven, far removed.

But thou hast long had place to prove

This truth—to prove, and make thine own:

"Thou hast been, shalt be, art, alone."


Or, if not quite alone, yet they

Which touch thee are unmating things—

Ocean and clouds and night and day;

Lorn autumns and triumphant springs;

And life, and others' joy and pain,

And love, if love, of happier men.


Of happier men—for they, at least,

Have dream'd two human hearts might blend

In one, and were through faith released

From isolation without end

Prolong'd; nor knew, although not less

Alone than thou, their loneliness.


To Marguerite: Continued

YES! in the sea of life enisl’d,
With echoing straits between us thrown,
Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
We mortal millions live alone.
The islands feel the enclasping flow,
And then their endless bounds they know.

But when the moon their hollows lights,
And they are swept by balms of spring,
And in their glens, on starry nights,
The nightingales divinely sing;
And lovely notes, from shore to shore,
Across the sounds and channels pour —

Oh! then a longing like despair
Is to their farthest caverns sent;
For surely once, they feel, we were
Parts of a single continent!
Now round us spreads the watery plain —
Oh might our marges meet again!

Who order’d, that their longing’s fire
Should be, as soon as kindled, cool’d?
Who renders vain their deep desire?—
A God, a God their severance rul’d!
And bade betwixt their shores to be
The unplumb’d, salt, estranging sea.

'I came like water, and like wind I go'


Yes... and the words "willy nilly" come to mind, liberally sprinkled about that line somewhere.


Omar Khayyám:


Myself when young did eagerly frequent

Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument

About it and about: but evermore

Came out by the same door where in I went.

With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,

And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;

And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd —

"I came like Water, and like Wind I go"

With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,

And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;

And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd —

"I came like Water, and like Wind I go".

Into this Universe, and Why not knowing

Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;

And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,

I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.’

15/03/2017: All is not lost: I see Pauline won nearly the same percentage of the vote in WA as the Greens  (7.74%/7.86%) – pretty good really starting from nothing a few weeks ago, with a disastrous campaign - and being fatally tainted by an alliance with the Libs: Also some interesting points here: One thing is clear: Australian politics needs a really big shake up!

15/03/2017: Fantasies of our times: ‘Greens claim batteries will back up wind power. But the one promised by Elon Musk would keep South Australia going for just 3.5 minutes. The one that the SA Government promised yesterday - perhaps the biggest in the word, claimed the Premier - is the equivalent of 1500 electric car batteries and would only keep a small town going for just a couple of hours. This is where green dreaming meets engineering, and the carnage starts,’ Andrew Bolt:

14/03/2017: Upper Yarra Track Map: Here is a map showing the whole of the (Extended) Upper Yarra Track from Lilydale all the way to Moe, approximately 250 km and 8-10 days: Australia's oldest and best long distance hiking track. It could be a better map, but it is better than no map. You should be able to zoom in on it if you (Right Click) 'View Image', then Zoom (Control +) a few times. In the Track Instructions you can find suggested maps (and Apps) you should buy for walking the track. I am working on a better map which will be posted on the Track Instructions page in the near future. For further information go to:



14/03/2017: Canoe/ Motorbike Trailer: I modified our ancient 6’ x 4’ ‘box’ trailer to carry our two Old Town Pack Angler canoes and my 225 cc Yamaha Serow motorcycle. I achieved this with three simple ‘drop-in’ welded steel sections which come out/in in a minute when you need the trailer for something else -  such as transporting sheep. It may not be apparent that I have welded four pieces of box section to the corners of the trailer so that the two end steel pieces simply slide in (and hold down the motorcycle track). It is a simple and effective arrangement.


I can tie the second canoe right side up on top of the first one (shown). This arrangement proved perfectly sound even on rough 4WD tracks such as we often frequent. It gives us single car access to sections of river which we want to canoe together. I realise some aspects of it could be done much better (and the whole arrangement could be finished (and painted), but I don’t need to ‘get a life’. I already have one!


It was all done somewhat hastily so we could complete our Wonnangatta canoe trip – whilst there was water. See eg:




14/03/2017: ‘Welcome darkness my good friend

it’s good to meet you once again

Because the power grids are stressing,

that’s the reason for load shedding…’

– Shrish Viyas Hargoon    


14/03/2017: As usual Willis Eschenbach has it all worked out so lucidly. What is wrong with Islam and what should be done about it. Three brilliant essays. Do read them:


13/03/2017: If there is a God, why does s/he allow evil in the world? The book of Job may have the answers (some truly great writing there anyway). A thrilling essay, even for an atheist (like me):


William Blake’s “Behemoth and Leviathan,” creatures of an all-powerful God.

13/03/2017: Killer Bees: Yesterday afternoon we took a drive to Yanakie just doing some research for an idea of mind which I will call ‘The Great Gippsland Circuit’, a hiking trail which ‘circumnavigates Gippsland.

We drove down Red Bluffs Road to the beginning of the Marine & Coastal Park, took the track to the right, parked the car at a turning circle  about 100 metres in.and got out. We were instantly attacked by these vicious black bees which we at first mistook for March flies. They just wanted to sting and sting for no reason at all. We desperately leapt back into the car. If we had been on foot I hate to think what would have happened – we probably wouldn’t be here to tell the tale!

Not a pretty sight (at best)!

My parents were apiarists, so I have had a lot to do with bees, but I have never encountered anything like this before. They just attacked and attacked – even though we were nowhere near their hive. At least it was not in clear sight of the car. It was just like when you knock a paper wasps’ nest down accidentally and they all go for you – but these were not wasps. They were bees. They left black stings in the bites. I did not notice any gold colour to them at all.

I will report this tomorrow to Parks Victoria. If this is some new type of bee, they need to be curtailed before they spread more widely.

 Our bee attack wasn’t quite as bad as this one though: Dangerous Swarms - 'Africanized Bees Attack and Kill Man':

13/03/2017: The Great Gippsland Circuit: A hiking trail which ‘circumnavigates Gippsland. This is an idea I have been turning over in my mind for some time. Much of it is already in place, but someone (me?) needs to ‘join the dots’, work out connection water and resupply points, camping spots, track instructions, times and a map. It will take some time – and may be revised a number of times.

Thurra River Mouth

Gippsland is unquestionable the most beautiful area in Australia (perhaps in the world) and deserves a wider’audience’. This trail will create it. There is an immense amount of work to be done, so it will take me some time (I have not yet finished work on the Upper Yarra Track yet ( – but keep coming back. I will add details over time.

The Alpine Walking Track (Kosciosko to Mt Whitelaw) and Upper Yarra Track (Mt Whitelaw to lilydale) constitute one long leg of the trail. Other ‘bits’ in place include the Bundian Way (Bega to Kosciosko),  the Wilderness Coast Walk (Bemm River to Eden), the Bruthen to Orbost Rail Trail, the Traralgon to Maffra Rail trail, The Grand Strzelecki Track, The Great Southern and Tarra Rail Trail (eg Fish Creek to Yarram), the Old Port Walking Track (Port Albert), various hiking circuits in Wilsons Prom (eg Tidal River to Sealers Cove, Sealers Cove to Five Mile Beach? Five Mile Beach to Johnny Souey to Tin Mine Cove, etc), existing beach walks (eg Waratah Bay, Cape Liptrap to Bear Gully, Point Smyth Reserve (Venus Bay) to Cape Liptrap,  Screw Creek Walk (Inverloch), Inverloch to Cape Paterson,  the Bass Coast Walk (Phillip Island to Wonthaggi), etc.

Clearly the walk will be over 1,000 km long and will take 2-3 months. There will be many resupply points and many (public transport) connection points, so that shorter sections of the track can obviously be undertaken. There will be many places you can find paid accommodation, restaurants etc as well as camping spots. It will take some time to work this all out but you will survive and enjoy even if you just begin tomorrow and carry on following your nose (and a map of Victoria)!

13/03/2017: Astonishing, Ruckelshaus, a name which should live in infamy as the greatest mass murderer in history with 100 million+ deaths to his ‘credit’ advises Trump to move to the left. More appropriately Ruckelshaus should be tried and convicted for his crimes against humanity as a warning to like folk who have proliferated like a plague for far too long:


12/03/2017: Hazelwood makes more power than all the wind farms taken together. It makes it cheaper, more reliably, and without killing a single bird. Without Hazelwood there will be electricity rationing or blackouts for years until a decision is made to replace it with new base load power stations. The decision to close it is economic and social madness. Why don’t we have a single political leader with the sense and courage to undo this monstrous wrong before we are doomed to such misery? The Greens and the Left of the Labor party will take us down the road to ruin:


12/03/2017: One problem proponents of the Welfare State have is they do not believe in the benefits of suffering, but just as it is salutary to have to work hard all day in the hot sun to remind folks where their food comes from (the normal lot of farmers such as I have been these over thirty years anyway!) it is also necessary to remind ‘entitlement’ folks every so often that someone else (who has to do the hard yard for them) is paying their way. Just as Pavlov showed long ago, a little goad now and then can aid learning a whole lot more than continuing to reward bad conduct ever will. The Welfare State was intended as a (small) safety net for those whose suffering could not be condoned (the very elderly, infirm, handicapped, etc). Over the years it has been extended and extended again till it includes over a third of the population (utterly improbable) and is long since totally unaffordable.


There is no way the nation’s finances can afford another generation’s extension of this absurd largesse. It has to be curtailed post haste before it consumes us quite, reverting to its primary role as a safety net for the few – whilst the overwhelming majority support themselves by meaningful work. It should remain a means of averting suffering, not a lifestyle choice: it is obscene and absurd to house welfare recipients (free) in accommodation which a large proportion of the workforce could not afford themselves from their strenuous endeavors – at least partly due to the onerous burden of taxation imposed on them to support the indigent – and like absurd socialist schemes.


Some replies to the above:


Well said! Unfortunately there are now multiple generations who have received such handouts; and will expect them as normal. In systems such as yours and mine those people have a vote. So they will continue to vote for the right to reach into others pockets and take what they feel is their 'right' to take. And we are deemed evil if we complain about such things!


It seems now we have generational welfare recipients, and it seems we are ok with this. Hard work these days is obviously a choice, we have a choice to do whatever. Funny , years ago if you were offered an apprenticeship, you were pushed into it , security and all that , you had no choice, now you are asked" is this something you could find yourself doing?".... sheesh


Government intervention is unsustainable in the long term and it will eventually end in tears. I'm not advocating anarchy. However, money is being frittered away. If there is a problem, then throw money at it. The lack of thought and imagination is not a panacea for finding better sustainable solutions. Money just leads to dependence, and like other addictions in a consumer society leads to soft moral choices, and decline and fall.


Yes X, you are right: it will end in tears, like many similar social experiments. We will end up having been 'cruel to be kind' as for example, when we finally run out of 'other people's money' the 'poor will no longer be with us'; they will needs must simply die. It would be kinder by far to require their active participation in our society (supporting themselves - with all the dignity that brings, no matter how small their means).


12/03/2017: The thing I find astonishing is the ATO's admission that they have been supplying Centrelink with this data for over 20 years yet no attempt was ever made to recover these huge overpayments. This measure recovered $300 million in only the last half year. That's $12 billion of overpayment over the last 20. Australia just does not have that sort of money to waste on people who don't deserve it!


11/03/2017: Might as well sack the BOM & CSIRO if they are just political activists who invent data as they go along, as seems to be the case. Of course, as they are in complete charge of the data, they will be unlikely to be caught out (as they have in the past, as above or in the famous Ruthergen Temps case) in the future, which is why we have been having (what the BOM reported as) ‘the angry summer’ whilst anyone living though it would just have observed it as a pretty ordinary summer, perhaps a little cooler and wetter than usual, in fact. Our grass held on right throughout summer this year, what used to be pretty normal for Gippsland prior to the (not quite finished) ‘millennial drought’:


11/03/2017: Political correctness claims another victim: Bill Leak dies of heart attack at 61: &


11/03/2017: In the US, ‘There are 60,000 pages of federal administrative law’ which undermine their democracy – and the rule of law. How few of us respect such laws. I doubt the situation is any better here, with eg our local Council having by-laws which forbid citizens from building a pergola, playing the radio or riding their bikes on their own land:


10/03/2017: You ‘cannot have both liberty and this type of social justice — under whose aegis one can assert rights to be provided education and health care, not to mention food, housing, etc. Positive rights to receive such things, absent an obligation to earn them, must violate others’ liberty, because a government must take citizens’ resources without their consent to fund them. Providing such government benefits for some forcibly violates others’ rights to themselves and their property.’ Too True:


10/03/2017: Good News Story: Potatoes will grow on Mars:


10/03/2017: There is a way out of our energy mess: I have been railing about the closure of Hazelwood and the fracking ban for years. Finally folks are beginning to wake up. A Donald Trump in the Lodge would make a few phone calls (the first to Engie) and the whole matter would go away. That’s what leadership is about. You would first offer Engie a deal which was too good to refuse. One the one hand the stick that if they close Hazelwood they will find it very difficult to do any business at all in Australia in the future; second the carrot: an offer of help with rebuilding it into the most modern of power stations. I would also be using the external affairs power in the constitution to overturn Victoria’s absurd bans on fracking and even conventional gas exploration - as Hawke did at the very outset of this Green fiasco with his stopping of the Franklin-Gordon dam:


09/03/2017: Political correctness: When will it ever end:


09/03/2017: First it was eco-friendly: now it is eco-evil. Make up your minds Greenies:


09/03/2017: Another Andrews Disaster: Today he announced he will legislate to ban fracking. Yesterday he decided he would penalty tax folk with empty houses. The day before he was closing Hazelwood, cancelling East-West link and throwing away a billion doing it, throwing cash at his union mates, destroying the CFA…no wonder his government is crashing.


08/03/2017: Does Turnbull’s visit to and adoration of Indo strike anyone else as a fatal echo of Neville Cahmberlain’s visit to Munich? These folk are not our friends; they are are our greatest enemy. We fought them in the 60’s when they attempted to conquer Malaysia (and did conquer most of Borneo). We should have fought them when they conquered West Papua (now called ‘West Irian) in 1967. We should have fought them when they conquered Timor in 1972. On all their maps Australia is clearly marked as ‘South Irian’. We should not be handing them $50 billion+ of ‘aid’ per year – which they spend on subs and fighter jets, etc. They are only 100 kilometres away at their nearest. They will land in Darwin one day. And we will need every one of the 100,000 SLRs John Howard gave them after Port Arthur to defeat them – if we can! Every Moslem in Australia is working towards just that ‘Invasion Day’, mark my words.


08/03/2017: Hiking With Dogs #1: I am heading up the bush for a week soon with the two JRs, Spot and Tiny. Tiny is now 17, has slowed down a fair bit  and has failing eyesight and hearing, so that she gets left behind a bit. She still has a good nose, so she is not going to get lost permanently. As she cannot hear me call, she can be a bit hard to find, so I decided I would buy one (actually three – for US$59!) of these: to help me find her.


They work off Bluetooth and are connected via an App to your phone, so that you can make them sound a beep when you are looking for them &/or your phone can also indicate direction/distance. If you are somewhere the phone will actually work, they also have many other useful features too numerous to mention. They can utilize the SMS service, for example. They would also be great for keeping track of small children, motor cars, keys, etc.


At the moment they only have a range of 30-50 metres, but that is better than nothing (especially when I am deaf too!) Soon there will be a new Bluetooth Standard: Bluetooth 5 will have four times the range and twice the speed of Bluetooth 4.2: which will have a working range of 120 metres and a maximum range of 400. This will make such devices really useful.


Of course the dogs have their own Tyvek raincoats (, down beds, groundsheets, ultra light bowls, dehydrated mince, Smackos & etc, etc. So far they have not been called upon to carry any of this gear (They are busy pointing out the deer!), but I could construct little packs for them I suppose. These ;little guys are so small I have to portage them across rivers as they would be swept away. I carry Tiny in an ultralight day pack worn pack to front (, Spot has mastered a trick of riding on my shoulders, like this:





08/03/2017: 11 Excuses to eat More bacon:


07/03/2017: Side Insulation: Gossamer Gear’s Sitlight Pads are just great for this if you cut them in half lengthwise. They can be still used in your pack’s pad sleeve but when it comes time to make your bed, either on the ground or in your hammock, these little fellows will keep your elbows and shoulders toasty warm.


You lay them egg-crate side down to get maximum insulation. The egg-carton shape makes them effectively 2 cm or nearly an inch of foam, and all those little hills and hollows makes them ‘stick’ to your groundsheet or hammock so they don’t move around.


There are three sizes available now. Mine don’t seem to be any of those. Mine are 9 ¾ x 18 ¾ ( 25 x 48 cm) and weigh 34.5 grams. This is a pretty small weight penalty for the comfort they bring – and they still do double duty as a pack frame and a trail seat! Mine are also used as my dog’s mattresses, but you pretty much need to have a JR(as you should) if this is going to work for you.


See also:


07/03/2017: Nothing better to spend our money on, but I hope you are grateful that this awesome inequality will soon be addressed – mind you I would like to see lights which don’t discriminate against other sentient beings: sheep, dogs, camels…


07/03/2017: Welfarism in the Netherlands - how similar would our Australian figures be?



06/03/2017: Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump Mar 2: ‘Since November 8th, Election Day, the Stock Market has posted $3.2 trillion in GAINS and consumer confidence is at a 15 year high. Jobs!’ Amen to that!


06/03/2017: Interesting observation: “From the point of view of physics, it is a miracle that 7 million New Yorkers are fed each day without any control mechanism other than sheer capitalism.” John Holland, scientist, Santa Fe Institute.

06/03/2017: Article 19 from the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." The UN clearly had not heard of 18C!

05/03/2017: Womens Are Great in Bed: You have probably noticed before how much I have extolled the virtues of Thermarest’s wonderful sleeping pads. I particularly adore this one (the Noeair XLite Womens) as it as light as a feather (340 grams), ‘fits’ me perfectly at 20” x 66” (51 x 168 cm) and is superbly comfortable (moreso I think than my own bed) at 2.5” thick (6.3 cm) and warm enough to sleep on a block of ice (I have) with an R-rating of 3.9!

You will probably have glimpsed this little piece of yellow in many of my hiking photos, often folded up into a chair, eg here:

I am about 5’8” so my heels just hang over the edge, and the rest of my body fits its mummy shape just about perfectly – which is what you want to make an inflatable pad super-comfy. I also think the horizontal tubes have an edge comfort wise over longitudinal ones but this may well be a subjective thing.

The first point is the most important one anyway: If you have surplus mat at the ends, sides or corners your weight will drive the air there and you will sink further into the mat. This means that the mat has to be inflated more to support your weight from sinking to the ground (usually your buttocks or hips) at the heaviest point.

To me a tightly inflated mat is less comfortable than one that is less so. I prefer a softer bed. I realise this may not be so for everyone, just most people, but if you are like me you will want to chose a mummy shaped pad and cut it to just 2” shorter than your actual height (as I explain how to do here: so that it is both exquisitely comfortable and the minimum weight!

From Thermarest’s page:

‘Product Details

The women’s NeoAir XLite mattress delivers more warmth and comfort per ounce than any other three-season air mattress available. Cold sleepers will appreciate our Women’s version, featuring an added layer of our reflective ThermaCapture™ technology for added warmth. New softer fabrics bring better next-to-skin comfort and boost in durability with no added weight. For the discerning alpinist, thru-hiker or backcountry minimalist who’s counting every ounce, there is simply no better choice to assure the kind of rest you need to get done what you’ve got planned for tomorrow. Stuff sack and repair kit included.

Ultralight: Advanced fabrics and a tapered design make this the lightest 3-season backpacking air mattresses available, with no peer in its warmth-to-weight ratio.

Warm: Multiple ThermaCapture™ layers trap extra radiant heat for cold sleepers, without the bulk, weight or durability issues of down and synthetic fills.

Comfortable: 2.5” (6 cm)-thickness, soft-touch fabrics and baffled Triangular Core Matrix™ structure provide unrivaled stability and support.

Ultra-Packable: Low-bulk materials make the XLite mattress the most compact NeoAir mattress ever – as packable as a water bottle.’

PS: Repairs: Though they are quite tough you will inevitably manage to puncture your pad. Mine was punctured within a day of my having bought it by a certain puppy (you will have met Spot if you have been here before) grabbing it in his needle teeth and dragging it backwards out the dog door onto the front lawn where he engaged in a full-blown mock battle with it until I intervened. I have found that nothing beats cuben tape ( for patching holes in them, The cure is instantaneous, efficacious and has not had to be repeated (Spot is now four years old). This tape is also excellent for a wide range of other repairs (raincoats, tents etc) and should always be carried!

PPS: Thermarest also have a chair which will do this but I own the Big Agnes Cyclone Chair ( I think slightly lighter) which has served me as furniture for many years in many wild places:

PPPS: Another feature of inflatable mats is that you can get yourself and your pack (dry) across swollen rivers relatively safely with them by using them as a kick board. I have had to do this numerous times. Usually it is winter, so it’s not much fun, but if you need to cross...I usually take all my clothes and my shoes off first and put them inside my pack liner.

PPPPS:The RRP for this pad is US$159.95 if you buy it from the States and use (eg) Shipito ( to get it to Oz (Recommended).

See also:

05/03/2017: Greenpeace is (arguably) the most evil, disreputable organisation on the planet:

05/03/2017: I know I probably shouldn’t like this, but I do: William Wordsworth:

‘The World Is Too Much With Us’

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

05/03/2017: So Trump was right – there really was a lot of vote rigging:

05/03/2017: The Great Barrier Reef is in much greater danger from Global Cooling – as we enter the coming Ice Age, than anything else. During the last (several) ice ages it was all dry land and did not exist:

05/03/2017: Fire Tent:

Steve Hutcheson and myself Wonnangatta-Moroka Winter 2012

Further to my post about being able to light a fire in the rain, ( I have also long toyed with the idea of carrying/constructing a fire rain hat or raincoat so that heavy rain doesn’t put out your fire.

The two occasions when it is really important to be able to light a fire are when it is very wet and cold and when there is a bushfire approaching (so that you can create burned ground as a refuge!) On such occasions if you don’t have a lighter, or can’t light a fire you’re a dead duck. Smokers clearly have an advantage here over more sanctimonious folk, and even though I gave up smoking more than a generation ago (! – there is an interesting method of measuring time) I still always carry a ‘Mini-Bic’).

Above: Steve Hutcheson and myself Wonnangatta-Moroka Winter 2012

See also:

We always camp in a shelter which allows a fire outside. A tent is a cold, creeping thing to have to retreat to when you can sit/stand in a warm open shelter, drink rum, play games, read etc in front of a cheery fire – and with a warm back! If you pitch any rectangular tarp high you can have a (small) fire at one end (though the wind tends to catch the tarp if it isn’t pegged to the ground on at least 2/3 sides).

I think it should be possible to suspend over the fire (eg a 1 metre square) diamond of eg ‘Tyvek’ @ 1.75 ounces /square yard and a melting point of 800C. You need to be careful that the fire can’t ignite its ‘roof’ or use it as a wick to ignite your tent, but this shouldn’t be much of a problem in the rain. Set-up obviously needs to be when furled (a couple of rubber bands should achieve this) so you can pitch it over the fire when it is already lit. Weight should be able to be kept to less than 3 ounces (90 grams) including stakes and guys. Tyvek, with its 800C melting point should make a good material for this ‘rain hat’. It might be better to use the material that fire blankets are made from for this purpose.

A ‘Standard’ Australian Fire Blanket (cost approx A$20 such as has lived in our kitchen for 20+ years) appears to be made of woven fibreglass and measures exactly 1 metre by one metre and weighs 427 grams, so it will (pitched diagonally - like the tyvek shelter in the photo) make an excellent small waterproof shelter for a fire. The fact that it will reflect otherwise wasted heat straight back into your tent will also mean you use much less fuel and can have a much smaller, safer fire. I would use a stainless steel fishing ‘leader’ as the guy on that side of the tent (with a ring at an appropriate point on it to secure the top corner of the blanket) and pitch the fire tent over it and pegged to th ground on the other three sides.

I see now that someone is selling just such an idea, the Fire Defender (They even have an 'ultralight' version):

Above, their 'ultralight' version

You might be interested in buying some flame resistant fabric to make your own. You could look eg here;

Tyvek Fire Tent’: We always camp in an open shelter (something like the one above in he photo) with an open fire out the front. So warm and cozy even on cold,wet days. This shelter is very easy to make. It consists of a square of Tyvek ‘Homewrap’ (available Bunnings in 30 metre rolls for a bit over $150) 8’ x 8’ square. The ‘wings’ consist of another square the same size cut in half. One of these can be cut right off the roll; the other has to be sewn or stuck on (using Tyvek tape). (You end up with an isosceles triangle @ 16' x 23' x 16' on which you pitch like this. You can bring the 'wings' in towards the tree if rain/wind moves around to that direction - which it almost never does!) The tie-outs are tarp holders from Aussie’s.

I have a more compact model (shorter wings) made out of .48oz/yd2 cuben fibre which weighs 200 grams (as seen here:! This is my ‘always’ emergency tent which goes with me everywhere – even on day walks: so often these can turn into an overnight trip

I have spent a night sitting (on a piece of thick bark) in front of a fire in the open on frozen ground, in a light snowstorm wrapped only in one of those mylar ‘space blankets which fit inside your breast pocket (Never be without one!). It wasn’t very comfortable, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep – but I am still here to tell the tale. Expect things like this to happen to you, and be prepared!

Two of those ‘blankets’ can make quite a serviceable tent and a sleeping bag. You will need some dental floss or similar to make tie-outs: simply lasso (& capture with the material) a rolled up ball of earth or a gum nut etc with the floss and you can tie out to trees, rocks  or sticks driven into the ground. I always carry some dental floss/Dyneema fishing line in my first aid kit (and a self-threading needle – old eyes, you see) for making repairs to my clothes, (hounds sometimes!) – or myself! See:

05/03/2017: I think Dick the Butcher had it about right: From Henry VI, part 2, Act 4, Scene 2:
Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows
reformation. There shall be in England seven
halfpenny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hooped
pot; shall have ten hoops and I will make it felony
to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in
common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to
grass: and when I am king, as king I will be,--
God save your majesty!
I thank you, good people: there shall be no money;
all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will
apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree
like brothers and worship me their lord.
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable
thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should
made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled
o'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings:
but I say, 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal
once to a thing, and I was never mine own man
since. How now! who's there?’

05/03/2017: Andrew Hastie continues his defence of our freedoms in Parliament – a future Prime Minister there, and the sooner the better:    

04/03/2017: Backcountry Radio:

Most radios on offer will just not cut it at all once you get a few miles from the broadcast tower. This little gem has amazing sensitivity and will pull in stations from all over the world. I have owned this little guy for over 10 years (and it looks like it). It has been everywhere with me, provided me with countless hours of listening pleasure (I’m not sure whether I have ever changed the two Duracell batteries) and kept me in touch with world affairs, weather & etc. it is the Grundig Mini 300 World band Receiver at 127 grams bare and takes two AA batteries.

It has now been replaced by the 400 mini weighing 91 grams using two AAA batteries, a significant weight saving. Here is its Amazon listing: Pricey at US$129.99 but it works, is durable, so it is worth it.

I imagine the new model is just as good as the old, but I have had no trouble picking up lots of short wave stations with it at Supper Cove, Dusky Sound, Fiordland - and other remote places. When I can afford its replacement I will have one with a weight saving overall of around 50 grams or two ounces!


Grundig Mini GM400 Super Compact AM/FM Shortwave Radio with Digital Display (NGM400B)

  • More details: AM/FM-stereo and shortwave bands
  • Analog tuner, with digital display
  • Digital display shows frequency, time, and alarm activation
  • Clock and alarm function

Product Description

The ETON Mini GM400 Super Compact AM/FM shortwave radio features AM/FM-stereo and shortwave bands and an analog tuner with digital display. The digital display shows frequency, time, and alarm activation.Clock and alarm functions are also included. It runs on two AAA batteries (not included). Other features include: 3.5 mm headphone output; telescopic antenna for FM and SW reception; internal ferrite bar antenna for AM reception; DC input (5V). Includes: owner’s manual, warranty card, carrying case, and earphones. Dimensions: 2.75 inches x 4.3 inches x .472 inches.

From the Manufacturer

A powerful shortwave radio with awesome features!

Super compact and light weight, the Mini 400 features AM/FM and shortwave radio frequencies. The analog tuner and easy-to-read digital display completes the simplicity of enjoying shortwave listening. Extend the telescopic antenna for better FM and SW reception and plug in a pair of headphones (included) to get a personal experience. It even has a clock and alarm function.

It's portable and versatile

The Mini 400 is a super compact radio that is perfect for all your adventures. Small enough to slip into a shirt pocket or backpack you can take it on your world travels or your daily hike. It keeps you informed and entertained with Shortwave as well as AM/FM and includes a sleep timer with alarm so you can wake to your favorite radio station. Digital display shows frequency, time and alarm activation. It even includes a telescopic antenna for FM and SW reception.

Anywhere is your playground with the MINI 400

It has an internal ferrite bar antenna for crisp and clear AM reception, anytime, anywhere. It has dual power sources: 2 AAA batteries (not included) and included DC input (5V). So the MINI 400 is the perfect companion for wild adventures or simple use at home.

  • AM/FM-stereo and shortwave bands
  • Analog tuner, with digital display
  • Digital display shows frequency, time, and alarm activation
  • Clock and alarm function
  • 3.5 mm headphone output
  • Telescopic antenna for FM and SW reception
  • Internal ferrite bar antenna for AM reception
  • Power source: 2 AAA batteries (not included)
  • DC input (5V)
  • Includes: owner's manual, warranty card, carrying case, earphones
  • Another offering: 85 grams plus 3 AA batteries.

04/03/2017: A really fascinating conjecture: Could a Single Marine Unit Destroy the Roman Empire?

04/03/2017: Watkin Tench on the First Fleet. Compelling reading. It is one thing to write or invent history and quite another to live it:

04/03/2017: Hard to believe this is a CNN poll: Two thirds of Americans believe this and 78% are positive about him. He really will be a great President:


03/03/2017: The Child Abuse Royal Commission has not found a single case against the three largest abusing ethnicities: eg Aboriginal, Moslem, Indian…where it is well-known to be endemic. The children deserve much better protection from those in authority:


02/03/2017: My Top Five Knives

1. Gerber: 'LST Ultralight'
2. Outdoor Edge:  'Razor Blaze'
3. Deejo: '27g Minimalist 3in'
4. Leatherman:  'Micra'
5. Spyderco 'Honeybee'

I've purchased and tested numerous pocket knives over the years. This is my current top five that I use day to day (as you can see from the photo these aren't brand new and have been used a countless number of times). Each has it's own advantages depending on your need. You can read more about each of these knives on my blog by following the links below. All are modesty priced workaday tools which have served me very well...

1. Gerber: 'LST Ultralight'

2. Outdoor Edge:  'Razor Blaze'…/

3. Deejo: '27g Minimalist 3in'…/

4. Leatherman:  'Micra'…/

5. Spyderco 'Honeybee'…/

03/03/2017: What Menzies believed:  These are the values, as enunciated by Sir Robert Menzies in 1954 when founding the Liberal Party. Though we might express these ideals somewhat differently today, I misdoubt many Australians would take issue with any of them:

We believe in the crown as the enduring embodiment of our national unity and as the symbol of that other unity which exists between all the nations of the Commonwealth.

We believe in australia, her courage, her capacity, her future and her national sovereignty, exercised through Parliaments deriving their authority from the people by free and open elections.

We believe in the individual.  We stand positively for the free man, his initiative, his individuality and acceptance of responsibility.

We believe in the rule of LAW Under it, there is freedom for the nation and for all men and women, Democracy depends upon self-discipline, obedience to the law, the honest administration of the law.

We believe in the spirit of the volunteer,  This does not mean that we reject compulsion in matters in which a uniform obedience is needed by the community.  But it does mean that the greatest community efforts can be made only when voluntary co-operation and self-sacrifice come in aid of, and lend character to the performance of legal duties.

We believe that rights connote DUTIES and that sectional and selfish policies are destructive of good citizenship.

We believe that it is the supreme function of government to assist in the development of personality, that today’s dogma may turn out to be tomorrow’s error and that, in consequence, the interests of all legitimate minorities much be protected.

We believe in liberty, not anarchy, but an individual and social liberty based upon, and limited by a civilised conception of social justice.

We believe the real conflict of our time is between the iron discipline of autocracy – whether communist or fascist – and the self imposed discipline of the free man. The spirit of man must prevail.

We believe that liberalism means flexibility and progress.  Its principles and its spiritual and intellectual approach enable it to meet and deal with new and changing social and economic circumstances.  By elevating the individual, it meets and defeats the terrible doctrine of the all-powerful State: a doctrine at once destructive, reactionary and negative.

We believe that improved living standards depend upon high productivity and efficient SERVICE and that these vital elements can be achieved only by free and competitive enterprise.

We believe that national financial and economic power and policy are to be designed to create a climate in which people may be enabled to work out their own solution in their own way and not to control other people’s lives.

We believe in the great human freedoms: to worship, to think, to speak, to choose, to be ambitious, to be independent, to be industrious, to acquire skill, to seek and earn reward.

We believe in social justice in encouraging the strong and protecting the weak, in widening opportunities for education, in the preservation of family life, in good homes owned by those who live in them.

We believe in religious and racial tolerance among our citizens.

We believe that all forms of industry, primary or secondary of otherwise, depend one upon the other and that their community of interest will be the guarantee of the nation’s growth.

We believe that under the blessing of divine providence, and given the good-will, mutual tolerance and understanding, energy and an individual sense of purpose, there is no task which Australia cannot perform and no difficulty which she cannot overcome.

02/03/2017: Not Fake News: Ask yourself why this is not on the front page in Australia: When do we start deporting these people:


02/03/2017: Halal Scam Busted: Kirralee has a big win, and about time too. When do we start deporting these folk:

02/03/2017: Donald is the best thing since sliced bread: From Maggies Farm today: ‘Is February 28, 2017, 'The Night the Democratic Party Died'?

I'm no longer a Democrat (it's been many years now), and though on the rarest of occasions I worried I'd made a mistake, Tuesday night watching the shell-shocked faces of the Democrats on the floor of Congress while Donald Trump delivered his magnificent speech, I knew I had made no error.  I even wondered what was going on in my head in those isolated moments I doubted myself.

The Democratic Party members watching that speech looked like a party of the living dead.  They didn't know how to react.  They didn't know if they were Americans.  They didn't know who they were.

In Congress speech, Trump stood to unify while Democrats sat to divide:

 ...despite delivering an unquestionably positive message, Democratic members like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi glared, shaking their heads and scowling in apparent anger.  Notable were moments when Trump proposed bipartisan positions like extending treatment opportunities for Americans addicted to drugs.  Despite the uncontroversial nature of these policies, Democrats sat in defiance.

But Trump’s message of one America nevertheless persisted.  Between the bookends of unity, Trump doubled down on his campaign promises to the American people, but he did so in a way that broadened their appeal.  He pierced through the unflattering portrayal of the mainstream media and articulated the well-reasoned impetus behind his proposals.

Democrats Refuse To Applaud America Putting Its Own Citizens First

02/03/2017: Well Done Donald! Our crypto fascists in Councils, Catchment Management Authorities, EPA, water authorities & etc have been up to the same hi-jinks here stealing farmers’ water from their streams, rooftops and dams and forbidding them from digging even the shallowest of wells (no more than 10’ folks) on their land. They have even decreed (via the infamous ‘Drainage Act’ that you have to fence off and (natively) revegetate every drainage line on your property no matter how minor (we are not talking ‘rivers’ here) until you have no land at all left even to put your house – this has actually happened to a friend of mine! This has to stop.


02/03/2017: Toss another polie on the bbq:


02/03/2017: Note to Labor: This is the inevitable consequence of your excessive, obsessive wage demands:


02/03/2017: Deejo Minimalist 3in Folder 27grams

This is the Deejo Minimalist 3 inch Folder weighing 27 grams (as configured). You could probably shave 3-5 grams off that by deleting the pocket clip, but you might also just ruin the knife, so don't. The pocket clip comes in handy anyway as it allows the knife to be worn on the outside of your clothing or pack where it is always ready for immediate use.

There is a bit of a story behind this particular knife. When Della and I traveled to NZ to walk the South Coast Track back in April 2016 (see: and etc: Oh, Wow, It was so good!) when I went through the scanner I had forgotten that I had a credit card knife in my wallet, (one of these: and they picked up on it - something which had not happened the last 2-3 times I had flown!

I always carry a knife - i have been a farmer for 40 years). It is just such a normal part of my life, of course I forget that I am carrying it. I just automatically put it on with my trousers every morning. I probably use a knife over ten times a day! When this has happened to me before (twice) they just let me check in my carry on luggage. This time I encountered the Gestapo. The airport police were called and they decided I had a concealed and prohibited weapon and were going to charge me. They kept me stressed out and on tenterhooks for three months over it despite my pointing out to them that they had mistaken a nearly 70 year old retired farmer for someone else entirely: a young thug or a potential terrorist perhaps. I suspect they are afraid to challenge these types and that I was an easy target.

Anyway, I found myself in NZ in the market for an ultralight knife to replace the wonderful Clive Sinclair Cardsharp (recommended, but maybe not legal!) so I just happened to buy the Deejo, and it has been in my pocket ever since. Its only disadvantage is that it is so small  and light I sometimes have trouble finding it, but it works really well, and holds an edge brilliantly. Get one.

See also:

Some more details:

'Light as a feather with the strength of a pocket sword, the Deejo is wildly efficient in action, in weight, in use and in portability. It's the pleasure of a perfect fit and performance in the service of utility. Select one to suit your specific needs, taste or personality.

The Deejo Naked is the famous ultra-light design in its purest form. Three exclusive weights, 15g, 27g and 37g, in mirror-finished steel or in tinted shades of matte titanium, in three ranges of varying materials. The Deejo Wood comes in 3 species of precious wood with beautiful grain designs. From the deep black of the grenadilla to russet hues of rosewood and the curves of juniper wood, subtly peppery in scent. The Deejo Colors comes in 8 eye-catching hues, one for every style or occasion. Dress the Deejo in bright color and sharp flashes, get it in its minimalist version with the Naked, or it's most luxurious with the Wood.

Ultra-light, ultra-flat, with a 420 stainless steel blade with titanium finish. It has a comfortable Polycarbonate handle, secure liner lock system, belt clip, and ample sized chisel ground blade. Polycarbonate is a thermal-resistant plastic with excellent mechanical properties and able to withstand temperatures of -135° to 135°C. It has a high degree of transparency which filters light better than glass for deep, vibrant colors. Safely slips into any bag or pocket with ease.






01/03/2017: We have reached a point of diminishing returns in our public life. Hardly anything actually needs doing. We may in fact be past that point; not only does nothing much need doing, but we'd benefit if much of what has been done were to be undone.’ John Derbyshire


01/03/2017: So long ago already: the Soviet union ended on Australia Day 1991, 26 years ago – yet (listening to the Labor party, Greens etc banging away in Parliament yesterday I realise so many on the Left still hanker for just the same old class warfare and the same old commie notions that held over half the world in slavery for 70 years!


28/02/2017: Greenies burn more fossil fuel than everyone else! Doesn’t surprise me really. Folks who actively advocate murdering one third of humanity are unlikely to have any good habits:


28/02/2017: Our energy and economic policies are turning us into another Zimbabwe:


28/02/2017: Don’t doubt there is just as much crookedness happening in our own immigration programmes:


27/02/2017: Adventure Unlimited:


27/02/2017: THIS guy was great: Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956): "I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman's club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave." Also see:


27/02/2017: Turnbull is costing $3 million to live in his harbourside mansion. Remember when Tony Abbott bunked in with the troops to save us money? Bring back Tony:

26/02/2017: Inflatable Bathtub Groundsheet: The lack of a bathtub floor is one of the chiefest comparative drawbacks of tarp camping vs tenting. I have been toying with this idea for some time. I used to usually collect some suitably lengthed dead branches and drape the edges of the tarp over them on the appropriate uphill side if rain threatened to inundate the ground.

I played with various means of suspending the edges of the tarp with mitten hooks attached to the tarp. This works but is awkward and slow with my arthritic fingers, then I thought, what if I made an inflatable tube which circumnavigates the tarp? I thought this was a genius idea till I Googled it and found someone else had already been there before me. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I did come up with the idea independently though. Theirs is quite heavy and only really suited to car camping not hiking.

Before I ever looked to see if there was such a thing I was thinking mylar or silnylon (both possibilities still – further experimentation needed), then I hit on the DIY packraft site I posted about here: and realised they could supply the materials for the tube and valve and that I could simply sew this to the edge of my 1.3 oz/yd2 silnylon tarp then seam seal the join.

Unfortunately the lightest heat sealable material (eg from is (I believe) 3 oz/yd2. I would need a tube 22’ long to circle double (7’ x4’) groundsheet. If I wanted the tube to be 2” in diameter, this would mean the tube would be in excess of 11ft2 or 1.3yds x 3 = 4 oz plus the 1.3 oz/yd2 silnylon 3yds x 1.3 = 3.9 Total 7.9oz or approx 240 grams. Good, but too heavy. If I can make the whole thing out of silnylon the first figure will become (1.3 x 1.3) 1.69 oz giving a total of 5.6 oz – or approx 160 grams. Much better.

A silnylon dry bag seems to hold air quite well though it is not designed to, so I suspect that if I glue up a tube of silnylon it will serve quite well, even if I have to add additional silicon as in this post:

Why not try it yourself, and get back to me?

PS: This groundsheet will go very well with this tarp:

I realise this inflatable tube could be added to my Holeless poncho to make it into a better groundsheet: eg for my

PS: As with my other design ideas, feel free to make one yourself but if you want to manufacture them I would appreciate some credit.

26/02/2017: Waterproofing Tent Floors and Ground Sheets: I have mentioned this brilliant idea before but apparently I had not done a post about it. Jim Woods has this great treatment which dramatically increases the waterproofness of silnylon (or other) tent floors or groundsheets. It simply involves mixing some (tube) silicon with odourless turpentine (ratio approx 1:3), painting it on and waiting for it to dry. I have done this myself and it works well. Simple, but highly effective. More details here: A Treatment for Silnylon Floors: as mentioned here:

26/02/2017: The Silverback: This is the new Gossamer Gear 58 litre pack. Total weight (Medium) 1060 grams with removable options, ie bare = 595 grams (ie without lid, hipbelt pad and frame).

This new pack is the ‘Big Daddy’ of the Gossamer Gear Gorilla (48 litre total) pack which I reviewed some time ago eg here: I also pointed out here that you could leave the aluminium pack frame at home and attach a much simpler hip belt and switch in the Air Beam pad for the Sitlight pad to reduce the weight to 644 grams, a very acceptable weight for a 48 litre pack.

If you performed the same mod on the Silverback you would have a 58 litre pack (and left the lid at home which weighed 651 grams, meaning the extra approx ten litres has cost you just 10 grams, not very much for all that space! If the Silverback lives up to the wonderful standards of past Gossamer gear packs – I started many years ago with their redoubtable G4 – and I’m sure it will, you will have an outstandingly robust and comfortable ultralight pack at a very reasonable price (from US$215)

If you add some tie outs to this pack (as I did with my Gorilla: and you utilise some compression bags ( this pack will suit you for the longest expedition. I would be able to carry all my gear and supplies for an unsupported month with this pack.

More good news: Gossamer Gear have listened to my suggestion (above) about lowering the weight of the hipbelt and now offer a much lighter, simpler hipbelt with pockets at 82 grams and US$21. It looks something like this:



See also:

PS: If you find some discrepancy between Gossamer Gear’s stated volumes for this pack and mine, note that GG do not state the volume any of its packs above the extension collar ( approx 8 litres) or in some cases the volumes of the pockets (my estimate: 13 litres).

25/02/2017: Ultralight Hiking USB cables, etc: This is my tiny bag of cables and other electronic goodies. The cable (17 grams) is only 6″ (15 cm) long and comes with interchangeable tips (5 grams each). Shown USB, micro USB (x2) and Sat Phone charger plug (comes with, so total = 27 grams) – this will get all my hiking devices charged on the trail: phone, camera, torches, sat phone, sat messenger, or etc). Also see below it a 5 gram white USB/Micro USB SD (& micro SD) card reader – great for sharing files on the trail (eg someone else’s photos. Also a couple of spare micro SD cards and adapter/s and a 3 gram case for extra photo etc storage – just in case I get the opportunity to make a movie about Fiordland moose! Note to self: I can save 4 grams here! The solar set-up below can recharge  a couple of AA/AAA batteries and all these devices as I walk along.

NB: Solar charging (well charging in general) did not work at all well at high altitude (as on my Everest Base Camp trip), though it works fine at home in the Victorian mountains (never above 2,000 metres), and usually much less – there will be a future post about this, but to cut a long story short; everyone’s batteries discharged (even when not in use) at at least twice the normal rate in Nepal, eg:


Cable inc sat phone tip 17 grams

2 x micro USB tips 5 grams ea

USB/Micro USB reader 5 grams

3 micros SD cards, adapter, case 5 grams

Cuben stuff sack 2 grams

Total 39 grams.

Solar pack setup. See also:

I bought the cable and adapter tips from these folk:

Some other Tekkeon tips: Adapter Tips:

They also sell this interesting AA charger: 125 grams Uses AA alkaline or rechargeable batteries TekCharge MP1580 doubles as a battery charger, so you can charge your rechargeable NiMH or lithium batteries as needed.

They also have a number of power banks such as this one: 125 grams for 4800 mAh

This is a reasonable weight for a power bank (I will also have a later post about them), but my spare battery for my Samsung Galaxy S4 camera weighs 35 grams for 2900 mAh, so about 15 grams per each amp hour. At that rate of conversion a 4800 mAh power bank should weigh less than 90 grams! I need to walk around the city sometime with an electonic scales in my posket weighing these ubiquitous little guys. I have done very poorly searching eg for ‘lightest power bank’ on the net. Good luck with that! But, if you have better information, please let me know.

I figure you need a minimum of approx. twice the capacity of your phone, so likely over 6000mAh. This would need to weigh (much) less than the above solar setup or this lighter version, the Bushnell Solarwrap Mini: which can be cut down by about 7 grams and still attach to your pack (as above) so will weigh < 80 grams for 1,000 mAh, plus whatever the sun delivers!


Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor, text and nature


25/02/2017: Don’t doubt there is just as much crookedness happening in our own immigration programmes:


25/02/2017: Frackers have done more than the Sierra Club ever did:


24/02/2017: The 'Addled Parliament' of 1614 (in the reign of James 1) was so named by him because it would not vote to pass some of his more exorbitant financial measures...MORE 'addled Parliaments', please!


24/02/2017: Fun with condoms:

24/02/2017: More fun from Joan Rivers: ‘I caused my husband's heart attack. In the middle of lovemaking I took the paper bag off my head. He dropped the Polaroid and keeled over, and so did the hooker. It would have taken me half an hour to untie myself and call 911, but fortunately the Great Dane could dial.’

24/02/2017: So much (still) to learn from Kipling (and from Willis);

‘It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,

  To puff and look important and to say: --

"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.

  We will therefore pay you cash to go away."


And that is called paying the Dane-geld;

  But we've  proved it again and  again,

That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld

  You never get rid of the Dane.’

23/02/2017: The ‘dangers’ of radiation exposure: There have been a number of indications low level does of rariation might well be good for you, here is one: ‘during this 20-year period there would have been an expected 232 cancer deaths from natural causes in this group of 10,000, plus a further 70 deaths from radiation induced cancer, for a total of 302 deaths. The observed number of cancer deaths in this group over this period was 7, or 2.3% of the expected death rate. Similarly, in this population group over 20 years there would have been an expected 46 cases of children born with some form of congenital malformation, such as Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy. The observed number was 3, or about 6.5% of the expected rate.

While a reduction in the expected cancer death rate of, say, five or ten percent is within the range of normal statistical variation, a reduction of nearly 98% verges on the improbable. Similar considerations apply to the 93.5% reduction in birth defects. Almost certainly something intervened in this group to cause these startling reductions, and while one cannot definitively state that it was due to the elevated radiation background, it is difficult to see what else it could have been.

The Taipei data points towards some form of radiation hormesis: people exposed to moderately large doses of radiation on a chronic basis are healthier than those not so exposed.’ Interesting:

23/02/2017: Don’t try this at home:


23/02/2017: Why haven’t all the bees disappeared? It turns out the neonics ban is just another ‘Silent Spring’ scam, this time‘only’ costing a few billion dollars (and some environmental damage) & not the 100 million or so lives lost as a result of the wicked DDT ban:


22/02/2017: You know I’m sure that I consider Larry Pickering a National Treasure and was quite sad when I learned months ago that he had (terminal) lung cancer. I am even more delighted this morning tomearn that he has self-cured it! This is not the sort of stuff I normally believe, so I will just pass it on without comment:


22/02/2017: It certainly is questionable giving Indonesia billions which they spend on acquiring submarines and fighter jets – but how much are those subs costing them if they get more than one for $1 billion? Our own submarine programme looks pretty lame beside that:


22/02/2017: I agree with Miranda, ‘Something is seriously awry when the guy who is horrified about the gang rape of women is portrayed by the mainstream media as unhinged and is mocked for his concern by a political class that has failed to protect those women.’ I suspect most people will. The left wing media and elites have brought us this ‘refugee problem’ and the majority of the population wants to be rid of it:


21/02/2017: All you need to know about oil:


21/02/2017: The NBN is turning out to be complete economic folly, a loss (of capital) to taxpayers of at least $20 billion for zero gain. The submarines at $50 billion and rising are even worse, yet we could not afford the much more modest cost of an automotive industry or new coal fired power stations – and so much of this debacle is down to that ‘genius’ Turnbull. He has to go: 


21/02/2017: An excellent paper by Prof Parkinson in support of marriage, (such a good idea) noting that the alternative (such as we have now) is economically and socially unsustainable and that eg 'Action therefore needs to be support the goal of promoting safe, stable, and nurturing relationships between children and adults and to eliminate perverse incentives to choose family forms that may not be optimal as a context for raising children' and noting that 'The costs of family instability are not just borne by individuals. They are to a very significant extent borne by taxpayers, who provide income support for many parents and their children, pay substantial administrative costs in ensuring income transfers through the child support system, and bear more of the costs of caring for the elderly than would be necessary if a greater number of marital and quasi-marital relationships remained intact' That last point is so often overlooked; I also like the use of the adjective, 'perverse'. Quite so:

20/02/2017: Hip Belts: On packs can often weigh more than the pack I usually carry (a Zpacks Zero in Dyneema with pad sleeves, tent, bottle and back pocket at 300 grams + various other mods such as gear attachment straps, internal pockets, etc) so you need to think carefully about whether you need them, what type you need and how much they weigh.

The first important point: if you are somewhat overweight (as I have been much of my life) you will probably be better off with a reasonably simple thin (say 1” – 25mm) webbing belt which will add maybe 30 grams to your pack weight, such as I added to my Gossamer gear Gorilla. If you are thinner, a wider belt will probably suit you best (whilst a wider belt will slip down and not transfer load at all if you are overweight). Indeed if you try to cinch it in tight enough to do any meaningful load transfer, it will restrict your movement tremendously. Be warned!

Ray Jardine advises having no hipbelt at all on an ultralight pack as they restrict your natural gait and rhythm - and why would you need any load transfer at such weights anyway! For an overnight or weekend pack I'm sure he is quite right!

Here is my Zero with lots of added features all ready for my Everest trip:

You need to think carefully about whether you need pockets in the hipbelt (there are only so many things you need to reach on the trail, surely?) and how much the pockets weigh. If you are a tad overweight it might be quite awkward to access such pockets anyway so that their extra weight will be quite surplus if you can't use them.

The padding and material hipbelts are constructed from also add a lot to their weight. As I said at the start a wider padded hipbelt can easily add 300 grams to your pack weight (or most of a day’s food!) so you need to give this some serious thought. My wife Della is slim as a whip, so she likes a wider padded belt.

We fitted this one from Zpacks Zero options to her pack for a weight gain of  around 50 grams. You will note that their belt pouches need add only 21 grams per pouch, so if your padded belt with pockets is adding more than 90 grams, it is just too darned heavy!

Zpacks Ultralight belt pouch:

See also:

20/02/2017: ‘The child is a sort of vicious, innately cruel dwarf.’ Michel Houellebecq. I’m glad my kids weren’t like that:


20/02/2017: Interesting facts about whales: ‘There are bowhead whales still alive in arctic that were born long before Moby Dick was written in 1851…Thirty four years ago, scientists counted 1,200 (bowhead) whales. Today there are about 14,000 of the mammals out there.’

19/02/2017: The Umbrella Redesigned:

Blunt umbrellas may not be the cheapest umbrellas but they may well be the sturdiest. They have been wind tunnel tested to not fail in Force 9 winds and have a two year warranty. If you are seeking a hiking umbrella which will not fail you in the wilds, this may be the choice. It may be heavier than some of the other choices (eg, but if it never lets you down, the extra weight will be worth it!

See also:

‘A Stronger, Safer Umbrella

Frustrated by the number of umbrellas that end up in landfills, the folks behind New Zealand-based Blunt set out on a mission: to make an umbrella that actually works—one that won’t break in a storm, when you need it most. The result? The Metro, the company’s flagship travel model, made to stand up to wild weather in the city or the great outdoors. It measures 14 inches long when closed and opens to a 37-inch diameter, offering 900 square inches of coverage from rain or sun. Every umbrella is wind-tunnel tested in 55-mile-per-hour (or Force 9) winds. And because you probably won’t carry yours through a wind tunnel, Blunt performs real-world testing, too.

Built-to-Last Construction

All Blunt umbrellas feature a unique Radial Tensioning System that redirects,transfers, and distributes the effort used in opening the umbrella throughout the entire canopy surface. This robust, aerodynamic structure prevents the wind from throwing your canopy in all directions, and the company’s patented safety tips ensure you’ll never accidentally jab a passerby again. Following a rigorous 38-point quality check, the umbrellas show—as Wired puts it—an “architectural integrity as unbroken as the dome of St. Peter’s.”


  • Blunt
  • Material, canopy: Quick-dry polyester, UVR classified
  • Material, shaft: Anodized aluminum
  • Material, handle: TPR (rubber)
  • Diameter: 37 in (94 cm)
  • Coverage: 900 sq in (5,806 sq cm)
  • Length when closed: 14 in (36 cm)
  • Weight: 12.8 oz (363 g)
  • Two year Warranty’

Available here:

On Massdrop at the moment for US$34.99:


19/02/2017: More and more polies. Polies everywhere:


19/02/2017: Thomas Sowell on personal responsibility:

18/02/2017: Found Space: Underneath our caravan sink was a mess of plumbing. As you can see a large fitting and poorly routed hose stole most of our already limited storage space. I purchased the much shorter and more compact fitting online and installed it myself (rerouting the drain hose in the process) and now have space for another storage box.



A comparison of the two fittings. The white one is nearly 120 mm tall and the one on the right is 35 mm.

Lots more space now:

The plumbing which remains still leaves much to be desired but it would be lots of work now for little gain (save neatness) but when the caravan was being manufactured it would have been (relatively) easy to install the plumbing in a workmanlike and tidy fashion and to have the caravan delivered with storage containers which actually fitted the space. Every caravan whose cupboards I have opened seems to have just the same issues – yet many folk paid tens of thousands of dollars (more) for their vans than we have.

See also:

18/02/2017: Libs may yet save Hazelwood: Be Quick!


18/02/2017: Use by dates are nuts: We often open and use cream which is weeks, even months out of date. For UHT, dehydrated and canned food, I can’t imagine what folks think could go wrong. Apparently the appearance, smell, taste test is just too dangerous and all this perfectly good food should just be trashed. Something needs to change, that’s for sure:


18/02/2017: Before you decide that paedophiles should all  be killed, meet Zachary who faces 350 years in prison because he was sent five photos of an underage girl in her underwear:

17/02/2017: Vargo Titanium Knives: Vargo now have a 2.7” (68mm) fixed blade knife which weighs 28 grams (inc sheath) and a 2 ¼” (57mm) folder at 30 grams. & The RRP on these beauties is US$59.95 (though they are available on Massdrop for US$44.99). These knives would be hard to beat for the ultralight hiker.

PS: I always carry a fixed blade knife for its ability to split wet wood for emergency fire lighting. See: &

Some more specs:

Fixed Blade:

  • Material, blade: Japanese titanium alloy
  • Single-bevel grind
  • Wharncliffe point
  • Integrated carrying clip
  • Hardness: Rockwell C 50
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Blade length: 2.7 in (69 mm)
  • Blade thickness: 0.1 in (3 mm)
  • Overall length:: 5.4 in (138 mm)
  • Knife weight: 0.7 oz (20 g)
  • Overall weight: 1 oz (28 g)

Vargo Titanium Knives


  • Material, blade: Japanese titanium alloy
  • Material, handle: Carbon fiber
  • Wharncliffe point
  • Double-bevel grind
  • Liner lock
  • Lanyard hole
  • Hardness: Rockwell C 50
  • Blade length: 2.25 in (5.7 cm)
  • Blade thickness: 0.1 in (0.25 cm)
  • Total length, opened: 5.5 in (14 cm)
  • Total length, closed: 3.3 in (8.4 cm)
  • Weight: 1 oz (30 g)

Vargo Titanium Knives

17/02/2017: New Zealand Glaciers: I have noticed this myself every time I have visited themj over the years (from 1975 through to 2103) that they have not shrunk; indeed sometimes they seem to me to have come further down the valley than on a previous visit. Whilst I know that the growth of glaciers (and their calving as icebergs) is more dependent on the level of precipitation at their tops than on global temperature, it does seem strange that these NZ glaciers have been increasing in size during a period (we were told) of global warming:


17/02/2017: The End of Democracy: James Burnham saw how this would work out back in 1941. It sounds awfully familiar today: ‘The many nations that are in fact being absolved will remain existent in name; they can function as administrative subdivisions, but have no sovereignty.’

16/02/2017: Henry Shires’ Tarptent: This is one of the best and cheapest DIY tents around. With Henry’s permission I am reprinting his full instructions here: ‘The following document has appeared in print since 1999 and details plans for making your own tarptent. While neither is as easy to set up, nor is as storm and wind resistant as the next generation Tarptents, these tents are excellent do-it-yourself projects for even the first-time sewer. We will be happy to offer tips and suggestions should you decide to make one.

The Tarptent sleeps 1+ (me, gear, +) and weighs 18 ounces complete with poles, stakes, tie lines etc. The Tarptent-for-2 sleeps 2 (or huge for one), weighs 24 ounces complete including generous beak, and has some additional room for gear. Both tents are floor-less, completely screened with zipper opening door and made from 1.1 oz silicone-coated nylon. Here's everything you need to know to make your own.




A goal of every ultralight backpacker is to carry a comfortable shelter that offers maximum protection from wet weather and bugs, while minimizing weight, difficulty of setup, and cost. The Tarptent is my solution to the problem.


Shelter Comparison

There are three traditional shelter types. Here is a summary of their relative performance. My rankings are subjective.































4=excellent, 3= good, 2=fair, 1= poor

* setup for tarps is often a factor of available trees.


Each shelter type excels in certain categories. The tarp is at or near the top in all categories except bugs. My goal was to create a modified tarp that eliminated the bugs while maintaining excellence in all other categories. The Tarptent weighs about 18 ounces, sleeps one person plus gear, and costs about $60 to make. The Tarptent-for-2 costs costs a few dolllars more.

Disclaimer: Snowy, winter conditions create additional shelter needs. The Tarptent will be fine in light snowstorms but is NOT intended for winter use.

All in the Fabric

While researching tents for myPacific Crest Trail thru-hike, I found and subsequently purchased a tent from Stephenson (603-293-7016), a producer of very light, high quality, but expensive tents. This bug-tight, 4-season tent weighs just over 3 pounds (less if you don't get the extra window screening), sleeps 2 very comfortably, and offers easy setup. It would rate a "4" in nearly all categories except cost. At 1.5 lbs/person, it's hard to beat, except if you're hiking solo.

What really got me thinking about making my own tent was the Stephenson tent material. Stephenson tents are able to achieve their remarkable lightness because they use 1.4 oz./sq. yd. silicone coated ripstop nylon. Urethane coated nylons weigh well over 2 oz./sq. yd, some approaching 3 oz/sq. yd. While this may not sound like much of a savings, it really starts to add up when your tent contains 10+ sq. yds of material. The Stephenson catalog offers the 1.4 oz. fabric for sale. It also references the material that was used in previous model years but discontinued because of an apparent problem with the supplier's ability to meet demand. This material is 1.1-ounce silicone-coated nylon (silnylon). Silnylon is available now from several mail order suppliers, and it is the material I used to make my Tarptent. It is very strong, extremely lightweight and must, of course, be protected from abrasion to withstand extended use.

Update 9/5/01: "1.1-ounce" refers to the fabric weight before the coating is applied. Actual fabric weight is variable, depending on manufacturer, and can range from 1.3 to 1.5 ounces/ sq. yd. This variability will impact the final Tarptent weight by up to 1 ounce. Recently I have begun using a silicone-coated, "zero-porosity, high performance rip stop nylon fabric" from Aerodyne Research Corp that is used for parachutes. It's called Zero Porosity Fabric (ZPF) and the company claims that it weighs 1.3 ounces/ sq. yd. On my scale it weighed 1.5 ounces/sq yd. My last batch of "1.1-ounce" silnylon from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics also weighed 1.5 ounces/sq yd. so either my scale is off or the variability is just to be expected. What's great about the ZPF fabric is that it has a smooth, rather than slippery, finish and is MUCH easier to sew than standard 1.1-ounce silnylon. Sort of like the difference between matte and glossy photographic paper. This fabric is extremely strong--you wouldn't want your parachute to be weak--but seems to have a bit more elasticity than standard silnylon. The 3-point rear pullout on the Tarptent-for-2 is designed to eliminate the small amount of extra sag caused by the increased elasticity. Your mileage will vary.

Anatomy of a Design

When I started working on this design, I began with an Integral Designs 8'x5' 1.1-ounce silicone coated tarp. It weighed about 6 oz, cost $50, and came with all the guyline pullouts already installed. I created a simple a-frame design, using 26" straight poles (I-poles) in the front and back. I sealed the triangular open ends with coated nylon doors, bounded at the apex by small mosquito netting vents for ventilation. I sewed one door edge to the tarp and used Velcro to attach the other edge for easy opening and closing . A groundcloth formed the floor of the enclosure. I attached guylines to the front and back and staked all 4 corners to the ground. There was just enough room to wriggle in and out of the tent and it kept the bugs out. Serviceable, cheap, lightweight, no view and no fun. It also suffered from condensation and showered on me when I brushed the material while exiting the tent. Next I decided to raise one long side of the tent and add mosquito netting along the entire length. This increased ventilation and provided a bit of a view. It also dramatically increased floor space while extending the drip line away from the interior.

Original Design                    Raised Side Modification


I modified the door and added guylines along the edge of the raised side at the corners and in the middle. While testing this tent I discovered that the netting actually blocks most of the driven rain. Small spray that gets through the netting will not reach more than a foot or so into the interior so as long as you keep the groundcloth/sleeping bag away from the netting you will stay dry. Subsequently I changed the front and back doors to all netting to increase ventilation and views with minimal increase to rain exposure. The original 8' x 5' tarp was then transformed into something like this:

I field tested this tent on a '98 JMT hike and it performed quite well. I still got a few drips of condensation when exiting the tent and I couldn't sit up to move around, eat, or put on a shirt. I yearned for more freedom of movement.

This time I needed my calculator and a little help from simple trigonometry. I wanted to maintain the floor space but increase the headroom without adding much to the overall weight. By raising the front and lowering the rear I added less than 7 sq. ft. (less than 1 ounce) but increased headroom by 1 foot. I'm 5'11" and can just sit up in the Tarptent. So without further ado, here's how to make your very own 18-ounce Tarptent™.



  • 1.1-ounce, silicone-coated nylon (silnylon) - 6 yds.
  • No-see-um mosquito netting. Tarptent: 4 yds; Tarptent-for-2: 4 1/2 yds
  • 3/4" nylon tape/webbing - 2 yds.
  • 3/4" or 1" Velcro tape (both halves) - 7" (4" if not including beak)
  • Grommet kit - size 1. If you plan to use trekking poles, make sure the grommet diameter fits your pole tips (and you may need 1" or wider webbing for a wider grommet).
  • Easton aluminum poles (.340"). Tarptent: 36" front and 18" rear; Tarptent-for-2: 40" front and 20" rear. (Note: larger poles can also be used with the original Tarptent at some loss to interior space) Easton poles are extremely strong, slightly flexible, and very light. A set of poles weighs 2.5 ounces for the Tarptent or 3 ounces for the Tarptent-for-2. Poles should have grommet tip on one end and be capped on the other end. The front pole should be shock-corded to prevent losing a section and for easier and faster set-up. Trekking poles may also be substituted.
  • 6-8 stakes. In the absence of trees, rocks, or other tie off points you will probably want all 8 stakes to pull out the midpoints on both long sides. I recommend titanium stakes as they are incredibly strong and weigh only 12 grams/stake (3.4 ounces/8 stakes).
  • #3 or #5 coil zipper w/double tab for opening from inside and out. Tarptent: 42"; Tarptent-for-2: 50".
  • Nylon cord for guylines. I recommend The Kelty "Triptease" ultralight spectra cord - 15'. Not only is it exceptionally strong and light but it's highly reflective and very easy to see. Burn the cut ends to prevent unravelling.
  • GE Silicone II Clear Sealer. Mix with some mineral spirits and paint on the seams, especially the outside (top side) of the main roof seam.
  • Scrap nylon for reinforcing pullouts. Use scrap from 1.1 oz. nylon or whatever else you have but uncoated ripstop is probably better to prevent water from getting trapped between the layers. Be sure to heat seal uncoated fabric with a match or soldering iron.
  • Home or industrial sewing machine. Be sure to use 100% polyester or spun nylon thread--I use polyester thread made by Guterman--and use a small needle size. Do NOT use heavy duty thread.
  • Pins for marking seams.
  • Measuring tape, yardstick, and scissors. Optional but very useful is a rotary fabric cutter and mat.

A good place to order materials is Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics (1-800-693-7467). Poles can be assembled from sections available at REI and other sources. My local REI did not have the grommet tips when I inquired so I had my poles custom made by TA Enterprises (1-800-266-9527) for about $10.

Pole Notes: Adjustable Trekking poles can also be used. If you turn the poles over you should be able to insert the pole tips into the existing grommets. Adjust the poles to match the specs for the front and rear heights (though most trekking poles will not collapse down to 20" and you'll have to get creative to use one for the rear).

For those using Glen Van Peski's G4 pack, the 18" or 20" Easton poles will double as excellent pack stays. Simply shove them down between the folds in the Z-Rest frame sheet. Using the Tarptent poles, I find the G4 comfort and load carrying capacity to be greatly improved

The Plans

The following designs are intended for 1 person and gear (Tarptent) or 2 people and some gear (Tarptent-for-2). The Tarptent can sleep two in a pinch but the Tarptent-for-2 is intended for extended 2-person use or as a more luxurious shelter for one.


Fabric Dimensions:

Cut 2 identical pieces of silnylon. Click here for printable pattern.

Cut 4 pieces of no-see-um netting. Click here for printable pattern.

Left Side (raised side)

Right Side (low side)

Front Door

Rear Door

Cut 8 identical pieces of nylon tape or webbing for pullouts.

Cut 1 piece of Velcro tape (both sides) for netting tie or 2 pieces if you're adding a beak.


Some Assembly Required

Place the two identical pieces of silicone-coated nylon together and stitch along the long horizontal side. Use a 0.5" inch seam allowance. The Tarptent should now look like this:


Now fold over each edge 3/4" and stitch to form a border. The Tarptent should now look like this:


The Pullouts

Pullouts are used to attach the Tarptent to the ground, via a stake or guyline.

The areas around the pullouts will be subject to stress and it is imperative that these areas be reinforced to spread the load. Cut scrap nylon and reinforce as shown :

You will need to cut scrap nylon to fit each corner and the midway point of each parallel side (the ridgeline pullouts). You can also add reinforcing patches along the midway point of each long side though those points do not experience much stress. Make each piece several inches wide/long and stitch along the direction of stress.


Front and Rear Pullouts

The front and pullouts are grommeted to support the Tarptent poles. Adjustable Trekking poles can also be used but be sure the grommet and associated webbing is large enough or just affix the trekking pole to the webbing loop and leave out the grommet.

Make two identical grommet loops as follows:

Fold a piece of nylon tape in half. Insert a #1 grommet near the end of the loop, through both pieces of tape, and spread the free ends as shown:

Repeat with a second piece of tape. Now, attach the grommet loops to the middle of the front and rear parallel sides. Be sure to spread out the tape so that there is more surface area to sew.

Side pullouts

Now attach the remaining webbing strips to the 4 corners and the two remaining midpoints. Fold each piece in half, turn it so it faces you edge on and then open it like a book to form a loop that looks like this:

Attach the loops to the remaining areas in the same manner as the grommet loops. Your Tarptent should now look like this:


Out, Damned Mosquitoes

Blessed be the ones inside the netting for they shall remain sane...

Before you attach the netting you should determine which long side of your Tarptent you want to raise up. If you sleep on your left side as I do you will want to raise up the left side (as viewed from the front) of the Tarptent so you can see out the side of the tent while lying down. Reverse the instructions for a "right-sided" design.

A Velcro closure is nice so that you can prop open the door when the bugs are low. Peel apart the two halves of the Velcro and stick them together again so that they form one long piece with about 1/2" overlap.

Sew the overlap area to the edge of the tarp, about 1/3 of the way up the fabric, so that it forms a right angle to the tarp.

Be sure to attach the Velcro to the left side of the Tarptent before you sew the netting. When the netting is held open by the Velcro it will look like this:

Now, sew each of the long pieces of netting to the edges of the Tarptent roof as shown below. Be sure to center each piece of netting so that there is enough material on both ends to overlap with the adjoining netting. For now, do not sew past the center of each corner.

Tip: The netting/nylon interface is slippery. You will want to use a short stitch length to prevent seam puckering. Practice with scrap before you proceed or you will have to rip out your first attempts. I also recommend cutting each long side netting in half and sewing each half separately. Once the tent is set up, pin and re-sew the break in the vertical wall. This will help eliminate the stretch in the netting.

You are now ready to set up the Tarptent and adjust the netting for good fit and finish. Be sure the Tarptent is taut before proceeding. Walk to the back of the Tarptent and pull the back window netting flap across until it's taut.

Pin the netting to the edge of the roof


line. Now go the front of the Tarptent and repeat the sequence with the front door flap but leave a little slack to compensate for the zipper. Draw a line along the netting corresponding to the pins. This is the zipper line and you will need to trim the netting back to this line. Take down the Tarptent and sew the zipper to the right side of the Tarptent You will need to sew one side to the right edge of the roof and the other side to the edge of the netting.

Be sure to block the top of the zipper to prevent complete separation by sewing an extra piece of nylon tape across the zipper. Stitch over the area a few times. Do the same thing to the bottom of the zipper by separately taping each bottom edge and stitch to prevent unraveling.

Finish sewing the rear window along the pin line.

Set up the tent again and pin the corners of the netting so that they hang straight and slightly inward. Each corner should form a pocket (for placing rocks/shoes/etc. to hold the netting) and the netting should fold to the inside. There should be about 7 inches of netting to the inside of the tent. Trim the netting as desired. In the field, place objects along the netting border, as needed, to complete the bug seal.

When you have finished pinning the material, take the Tarptent down and sew the netting along the pin lines.

Options (Why? Because we got 'em.)

Sorry no moon roofs or 4-speaker stereos. But if it's beaks or floors you want, you came to the right place.

Adding a Beak

Tarptent with optional beak; beak rolls up and can be tied off with velcro

A beak is an awning that partially covers the front of the tent. I have made it a standard part of the Tarptent-for-2 and consider it optional for the original Tarptent. It adds about 1 ounce to the overall weight of the finished product. In either case, it will not be needed except when the tent front is aimed into the blowing rain. A beak will, however, allow the front netting to be left open during most storms--a benefit for increasing airflow in wet weather--and allow you to scootch up toward the front. Like the door netting, the beak is designed to be rolled up and stored with velcro when not needed.

Click here for printable pattern


Adding a Floor

The Tarptent is designed to have an open floor with netting border. Typically a groundcloth forms the interior. I always carry a groundcloth made of Tyvek Housewrap--a very tough and highly water resistant fabric used in building construction--and center it inside the Tarptent. My groundcloth measures 3 x 6 1/2 feet and weighs about 5 ounces.

Top-down view of Tarptent interior


Another option is to fill the space with a full netting, Tyvek, Silnylon, or combination floor.

A removable floor is the best of all worlds because it gives you flexibility to sleep out or in without having to carry an extra groundcloth. Here's how to make one.

Determine the dimensions of your groundcloth. Now cut or piece together a netting floor insert to match the interior dimensions of the "hole" in the Tarptent or Tarptent-for-2 (see above) and create a another hole in the middle of the netting insert that is an inch or two smaller than your groundcloth. Sew velcro to the corners and middle of the long sides as shown.

: The interior profile will appear slightly different, depending on the tension of the side pullouts. Actual profile will be more square across the front end (left end in this picture) and then taper toward the rear. Create the floor insert using the "stretched" dimensions so the netting insert will not be stretched during setup.

Sew corresponding velcro patches to your groundcloth as shown.

Sew the netting insert to the netting flaps on the tarptent (except the front door) and press the groundcloth velcro patches onto the netting insert. Your completed floor should now look like this,

A combination netting/removable floor should add 1-1.5 ounces to the overall Tarptent weight (not including the weight of the groundcloth). A full netting floor would add about 4 ounces.

Finishing Touches

Set up the Tarptent again and seam seal the main ridge seam and, if you wish, the seams around the pullouts. You may also wish to sew small loops at the front of ridgeline and about 1 foot toward the rear for use as a small clothesline or flashlight holder. An additional benefit of these two loops is that they double as a ridgeline tightener.

Click here for additional Tarptent-for-2 finishing touches.

But Do I Really Want to Make One...

Since I first published this document, many people have asked me if I have any original Tarptents to sell. The answer is no because the new, next generation Tarptents are so much better. If you'd still like an original Tarptent, I've authorized Moonbowgear to produce them.

Five Months on the PCT

Goat Rocks Wilderness, Washington

I put the Tarptent through an extensive field test during my hike. For nearly 5 months on the trail, the Tarptent was truly my home. Overall, it performed like a champ and I stayed exceptionally dry and warm during my walk. I do, however, have a few comments and suggestions for future Tarptent users.

  • Over time, thin poles will sink into wet or loose soil. To solve the problem, place small, flat rocks under each pole during set-up.
  • The original design called for 6" netting flaps around the perimeter. Despite security measures, there were still times when a few mosquitoes managed to evade the defenses. If you plan to camp in very buggy conditions I suggest another inch or two to the netting width. The key to whatever width you choose is to press the netting to the ground with rocks, sticks, shoes, overlapping ground cloth, etc. Properly pinned, the netting will stop all flying insects from entering. Ants are a bit more clever and a few will find their way in no matter what you do. If you must stop ants, a full netting floor will add about 4 ounces to the tent weight and is a reasonable ultralight solution. A full tyvek floor is only slightly heavier.
    Update 9/5/01: I have ammended the plans in this document to include 7" flaps and suggestions for a full floor.
  • I sewed small velcro patches to the inside of the front door, two along each seam. Since I carried a poncho, I also sewed matching patches along the edges of the poncho. During windy storms, when I had neglected to aim the low end of the tent into the blowing rain, I attached the poncho to the velcro patches and was able to stop the mist and droplets from entering. Any piece of fabric, coated or otherwise, will accomplish the same thing. Another option would be to add a beak to the front entry area.
    Update 9/5/01: I have included plans for a beak.

The Tarptent will be forever linked with the most incredible journey of my life.

That's it! I hope you enjoy your original Tarptent or Tarptent-for-2 and please feel free to contact me with comments or suggestions.

Henry Shires

Tarptent is a trademark of Henry Shires. I assume no responsibility with regard to the Tarptent's performance or use.

© 1999-2016 by Henry Shires. All rights reserved.


16/02/2017: Seems like Bernardi might be on the right track. Polling 14%:


16/02/2017: Damn! The Greens are really evil: Sure, ‘don't bother knockin' if the van's rockin’ is risqué, but so what?


16/02/2017: ‘It is easy to forget that the memoirs of a little girl who watched Native Americans on horseback and saw herds of buffalo on the plains happened within living memory of my elders when I was born’.  Australia’s history too is encapsulated in the memories of a very few generations: I remember my grandfather telling me he had known someone who was on the first Fleet. Della’s grandmother certainly did, as her grandmother’ grandmother gave birth to a son on the voyage out. (Her husband was a soldier in the NSW Corps):




15/02/2017: This is not only false, but wicked: Bill Shorten on Aboriginal disadvantage: ‘We distributed blankets infected with diseases we knew would kill’. Nothing more is needed to fuel this vile industry of grievance and entitlement. Keith Windschuttle has written a four volume history repudiating this dreadful invented (black) racist history. You can read a condensed version here; Australia needs to move on from this nonsense. We need to stoop being Aborigines and Others, and just become Australians with equal rights and responsibilities.


15/02/2017: Another great idea from Angela. At least most folks will be able to get on board this one:

14/02/2017: An Excursion to the Upper Yarra Falls: This is the third part of a 3 part article. Leader (Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 22 November 1884, page 16 The Contributor: By G. Much of it is incredible, to say the least. The author has explained the value of solitude and the preservation of wilderness so well – his conclusion: ‘It would seem well, therefore, that some steps should be taken permanently to preserve these forests in their present state.’ Might have been written yesterday!

‘After bathing in the Thompson, which we found about up to our waists, and very cold, we had breakfast, and made another start. We crossed the bridge and ascended the opposite hill. The track was good, and after a time we got among the green saplings and wattles. They were about 9 inches at the butt and about 30 feet high. They grew thickly on each side of the track, and were often fallen across it. So we continued for about 2 miles, apparently keeping near the ridge of a spur. At this point the track turned a little off the ridge to the right, crossing the head of a valley, which ran south, to join the Thompson.

Just as we got across this valley we came to a pile of huge granite holders, and from this spot we got a fine view down the valley, and up the Thompson, with Mount Baw Baw in the back ground. Just beyond there was a heavy fall of dead, timber, which we got past with some difficulty. The track was again clear for a little. It then crossed the ridge, and we got on to a sideling sloping to our left. Here we came to another heavy fall of dead timber. Some logs 100 feet long and several feet through at the butt had fallen across the track, bringing down with them great quantities of the sap-lings and wattles. The track was blocked in this way for 100 yards or more. We had to endeavor to carry our packs over the obstacle, and then find places where the horse would jump the logs, or they were sufficiently broken to enable him to scramble over them, and move the saplings for him to get there.

We loaded again, and proceeded a few hundred yards. Here we came to a worse block, and extending a long way ahead. It had taken us two hours hard work to traverse the eighth of a mile. We were then 12 miles from Mount Lookout, and at this stage R. advised that we should separate, the three of us returning with the horse to Reefton by the way we had come, he going on alone to Mount Lookout. This we consented to the more readiiy, as it would enable us to get another view of the Yarra Falls. We accordingly separated, R. taking with him a light swag, proceeding alone, and the three of us returning to our camp of the night before. R, expected to reach Mount Lookout that night. If he found that he would not get through he expected to be able to rejoin us before we left Mr. Thompson's the next morning. We could not but feel that R. had embarked on rather a perilous journey. On the other hand we did not doubt that he was well able to take care of himself. He had before travelled with me in the wilderness in a somewhat similar way. As to ourselves we felt that we had lost the best man of our party; it was due no doubt mainly to his excellent pioneering that we had got thus far.

On our return to the granite knoll we admired the view at greater leisure. The undulating ridge of the plateau, covered with foliage of diverse tints; the red of the gum saplings contrasting with the deep green of the wattles and the huge black and white trunks that at intervals towered above it. In the back ground were Mt. Baw Baw appearing as an isolated group of rounded pyramids or conical domes rising to a great height above the plateau on the south-east, and that notwithstanding that the granite knoll was 2600 feet above M'Mahon's, or between 3000 and 1000 feet above the sea, and the ground between us and Baw Baw was rising. We returned to the Thompson, and camped a second time upon the same spot.

The next day we left our camp standing and walked to the Yarra to have another cooler at the falls. We had a pleasant walk through the beech forest, the dark shade of which was set off by the straggling gleams of bright sunlight which found their way between the trees. We had lunch under a small fall. A little above this was a great fall, which was shaded by the ferns, and very pretty. We then began to descend the great fall from the top, keeping near the edge of the creek, and saw a fine series of cascades. Still, we could see but a small por-tion at once. After getting over 100 or 200 feet, we came to a high rock, jutting out on the left bank of the stream. To the top of this we climbed, and were rewarded with a magnificent view. The face of the fall was visible for 300 or 400 feet, the upper and lower portion gleaming through a pale green veil of ti-tree. Looking outwards, we could see far down the Yarra Valley a countless succession of wooded ridges, rising to the right and left, one behind the other, with tints varying with the distance.

The next day we struck our camp on the Thompson, and for the two succeeding days we proceeded without difficulty till we got to Mount Horsefall, where we found it impossible to retrace the track we had come by. After wasting some time in looking for it, we determined to act on R.'s advice and abandon the track, and try and make our way through the beech forest on the south side of the range. This we did, keeping under the beech trees, but in sight of the white logs on the top of the mount. The ground was so soft that the horse could keep his footing, not-withstanding the steepness of the incline, and in about twenty minutes we got round into our track again without any difficulty.

At tbe foot of Mount Horsefall we saw a track coming in from the south, which we had not noticed coming. We took it to be a a track marked on our tracings as Bennett's track. When as we returned to our old camp at the ten miles water, we had no oats for our horse, but he was sufficiently hungry to eat plenty of the rank grass, On reaching the top of hill where the finger post ought to have been we saw a track turning towards the south, A little after we plunged again into the dense scrub. We found it impossible to keep our former track, but finding ourselves by the ridge we fought our way through it as best we could.

We were not a little glad when we again made the Excelsior shaft. After this the travelling was easy. On reaching the place where the old track turned off to Alderman's Creek, we thought we would follow it and camp there. But finding the descent would be very great, we turned back and camped on the ridge, which the supply of water in the hut enabled us to do.

The next day we set out for Reefton. Not withstanding the rain which had taken place, the little water holes were quite dry. Going down the thick spur we had a fine view of a nameless mountain mass on the opposite side of the Yarra, whose steep and rugged sides were seamed with an irregular network of foliage. We descended the deep spur, and arrived at Reefton. We had eaten up all our provisions, our boots were nearly worn off our feet, our garments were ragged, but we were in good spirits, for we had seen the falls.

Here we met Mr. Lewis, and were hospitably entertained by him and his wife, which we thoroughly appreciated, and next day left for the metropolis. On reaching Melbourne I found a letter from R., narrating his adventures. He wrote : — " After I left you on Wednesday, I had a fearful rough walk for four miles. In fact the logs were lying so thickly together and the scrub so high that it looked as if it had never been cleared. After the first four miles or so the want of water caused me much delay, as I could not find the track, and had to guess where it was, and very nearly having to return; however, I guessed where it was, and followed it on till I come to a spur leading down to the river, when I picked it up again, the blazes being well marked here where they were not so much required.

When I arrived at the river, I saw cattle tracks along the bank and knew there must be somebody living not far off. After following it down for about three miles, I suddenly came upon a selector's bark mansion. To my surprise there were some girls outside, more surprised than I was, not only as to my state of dress, but as to where I had come from, as there had not been anybody through this part for about five years. After regaling myself with a delicious glass of gooseberry wine, I passed on to the next crossing, where a miner lives, who kindly gave me a good tea and put me on the track to Mount Lookout a distance of two miles, uphill all the way (by the clock), where I arrived at eleven o'clock at night, and was refused a bed till I convinced the proprietor that I was not a sun-downer on the wallaby track.

... It would have taken at least a week to do the four miles after I left you with the pack horse." We saw lyre birds at intervals all the way along the South Dividing Range of the Yarra, and thence as far as we went, and we also saw trace of wombats, and we killed a snake on Mount Horsefall, bnt we neither saw nor heard any other animals, whether birds or beasts. This absence of life made the part we passed through particularly silent, except for the sound of the wind among the trees, or of falling water when we were near the Yarra, Different members of the party drew com-parisons between the Yarra Falls and other waterfalls they had seen— the Stevenson, the Erskine, the Watts, the Eurobbin, the Wentworth, the Wannon.

In general character the Yarra Falls resemble those of the Stevenson more than any of the others. They are higher and have more water in them, but it is difficult to obtain a good sight of them. The views now to be got of the Yarra Falls more nearly resemble those to be got of the Stevenson before the new track was cut which exposed the entire face of the fall, I am not aware that the height of the falls of the Watts have ever been measured, but I should say from recollection that it is considerably greater than the height of the Yarra Falls, and that there is more water. On the other hand, the fall of the Watts is less abrupt, being interrupted by long slides, where the water, unbroken and transparent, comes down an excessively steep incline with a rapidity dazzling to look at.

I saw none of these slides on the Yarra, the fall being broken by short slopes only. While the Yarra falls over the edge of a precipitous and wooded declivity, the Watts rushes down the bottom of a vast and steep gorge between Mount Juliet and Mount Strickland, the wooded sides of which descend to the water's edge in steep unbroken slopes of, I should say, at least 2000 feet. As compared with the Eurobbin Falls in Victoria and the Wentworth in New South Wales, the Yarra Falls were considered to contain more water, but do not present the feature of an unbroken fall of vast height which distinguishes the former. As compared with the Loutit Bay Falls, I do not think I saw on the Yarra any one cascade unbroken by steps as high as the Splitter's Falls, or even as the falls of the Erskine. But both these latter falls are seen from valleys where the view is much shut in, and where consequently, the actual height is not liable to be dwarfed by comparison with greater heights or depths.

A further question that may arise is how far the Yarra Falls will repay a visit, and that is a matter that must depend much upon the idiosyncrasy of the questioner. The Stevenson, the Erskine or even the Wentworth Falls can be seen with much less expenditure of time and labor. On the other hand, a journey of 20 miles through virgin forests intersected by the Splitter's Creek would to many be an additional attraction. It is a great change for a man who passes his life in a large city to find himself in a few hours transferred into utter solitude. There is also a certain interest in seeing things which few people have seen, especially if they relate to something, as the River Yarra, with which we are all well acquainted.

There is a certain pleasure to be derived from encountering and surmounting difficulties. The mind is completely taken out of its accustomed train by the immediate necessity of devoting the whole attention to the passing incidents of the journey. The extent to which this is the case few people will conceive who have never taken a trip of the kind. One appears to forget, for the time, everyday life, as if he had been all his life a wanderer in the wilderness. To those who look at things in this light I would recommend a trip to the Yarra Falls. The high plateau from the opposite edge of which flow the Latrobe, is altogether uninhabited. In winter it is covered with deep snow, In spring the waters of the Goulburn, the Yarra and tbe back forests become swamps. During the summer the water sapped up by the ground will slowly drain off, making the streams perennial.

At the present time settlement is prevented by the inaccessible nature of the country, but this would not be a permanent obstacle ; a little engineering skill would no doubt carry a dray road on to the plateau, after which there would bo no further difficulty, except from vegetation. Some years hence, therefore, there may be a movement to take up this country. Since my return I have been questioned as to the character of the soil; I said it was good, but of course no grass would grow under the timber, "That," the answer was, "is a small matter. If the soil is good it is easy to ring the trees."

It is a matter, therefore, for consideration what ought to be done in anticipation of such a movement. It would add to the colony some square miles of summer pastures and perhaps of cornfields, but it would have other effects of a different character. The snow no longer shaded by the dark foliage of the beech trees would, melt more rapidly. The ground exposed to the summer sun would harden and absorb less water, and there would be a probable diminution of the rainfall, The result would be disastrous floods in the spring when the snow melted, followed by a quickly diminished pe-manent flow of the stream during the summer. It would seem well, therefore, that some steps should be taken permanently to preserve these forests in their present state. How far this is now done incidentally by reason of tbe country being included in auriferous reserves I do not know.’

Turns out there is still more to find out about the Yarra Falls hut:

‘State Party Marooned. Trafalgar and Yarragon Times Friday 8th February 1918.

Tourist Hut Gives Shelter.

Under the above heading the Herald on Monday last says:-

When the storm broke on Saturday a Parliamentary and departmental party led by Mr. Barnes, M.L.A., which was returning on horseback from a trip to the head of the Yarra to inspect the district timber resources took shelter in the tourist hut near Yarra Falls.

"The rain fell in bucketsfull", said one member of the party today in describing his experience.

​"Men and horse soon looked as if they had been wading through a stream. Our boots were full of water. When we reached the tourist hut we had to strip off our clothes and dry them at a fire. While our clothes dried we had to be content with less raiment than is ordinarily worn in the busy haunts. We had a Railway Department photographer with us but he refrained from snapshoting us as we wore rags and other coverings, which are stored at the hut. We stayed all Saturday night at the hut, and left on Sunday morning."

The party, in addition to Mr. Barnes consisted of Mr. M. Hannah, M.L.A. vice-chairman, and members of the New Industries Institute.’

Once again I am grateful to Thomas Osburg for finding and sharing these historic treasures.

See also:

14/02/2017: Science keeps bringing us new wonders: Cheap plastic film cools whatever it touches up to 10°C. This stuff is so improbable, but it is real. Its very existence calls the whole ‘Greenhouse Effect’ religion into question. &


14/02/2017: Marine Le Pen may well win with this excellent campaign ad. How different the world will be with Trump, May, Wilders, Le Pen & ? at the helm:


13/02/2017: What could possibly go wrong:

13/02/2017: The eyes have it:


13/02/2017: In East Bengal they still believe in genies:


13/02/2017: Don’t like Google’s intrusiveness? You can get most Apps here without a Google account: If you go to their site you will see that each App has already been checked by perhaps 50 Anti Virus programmes to be safe – no doubt you can also run it past your own. This may be the next best thing to outright ‘jailbreaking’ your phone, which you might alos consider if yout are obsessed by privacy issues.


For example you can download the old version of ‘Pdf Maps’ which allows you to open an infinite number of maps. You have to uncheck 'Update' to continue its functionality. This is really good for opening GPS enabled Vicmaps on your mobile phone.

12/02/2017: Tanjil River East Branch: We were up that way during the week and happened to cross the East Branch on Webbs Track which is a 2WD road. This branch would not need very much more water (< 5 cm) to make it canoeable. You might even get down it at this height. It would be fun trying anyway!

I would estimate it to take at least three hours from Webbs Track to Rowleys Hill Rd (See Vicmap Noojee South T8122-3-S). The gauge height at Tanjil Junction is .45 metres today which I have found makes the West branch canoeable (certainly from Rowleys Hill Rd down. See

You can also put in at the intermediate point Burns Track (just a km above the junction). This would be a good place to check the canoeability of the East branch before you try it from Webbs all the way down. Keep an eye on the river heights gauge to see if there is enough water. A decent summer shower should provide you with some fun!

Webbs Rd bridge.

View downstream.

View upstream.

A PS: I had not thought about canoeing the section of the Tanjil downstream from Blue Rock but apparently they let out 'Environmental Flows' from time to time which makes this possible. I will post when I know more.

12/02/2017: What a great poem! Especially the last stanza, and the last line:

Ulysses - Tennyson

 It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

   This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

   There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

12/02/2017: Galaxy Poll this morning: One Nation at 23% in Qld, and reputedly ahead of Labor! Interesting times!

12/02/2017: Should will we build a fence around the Harbour Bridge – or should we just maybe look more closely at who we let in/let stay?

11/02/2017: Strange Stone Circles: I am sick to death of seeing these ubiquitous idiotic ‘structures’. They do nothing to contain the campfire – indeed they are likely to harbour smouldering embers which wind will later re-ignite into conflagrations. They are a tripping hazard responsible for many burns injuries. They are visual squalor. They are almost always in the wrong place. They are impossible to see once the grass has regrown. I hate to think how many times I have srubbed my toes on them or come close to damaging my vehicle with them. They make it almost impossible to slash the grass in summer to prevent bushfires and are annually responsible for thousands of dollars of damage to equipment. It is almost always better not to have the fire in the same place all the time. Individual small campfires cause interesting regrowth responsible for the propagation and preservation of many rare species, particularly orchids. Permanent campfires just sterilize that spot and create no renewal opportunities. In any case, they are almost always symptomatic of summer campers who should have no campfire at all given the likely enhanced wildfire danger, and that it is not cold enough to require a fire. You almost never see these structures erected by winter campers such as deer hunters. Let’s stamp them out, please!

11/02/2017: NB: Perth has its coldest, and wettest days ever as a foil to  all the hype about the ‘unprecedented’ heat wave sweeping ‘Eastern Australia’, unprecedented because of the ‘homogenisation’ of the thermometers. Remember back when it used to be really hot enough to fry eggs on the pavement, yet no-one owned aircons?

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Fritz Goers frying egg on pavement, Barossa, 1950s.

11/02/2017: It’s a strange world. When Larry Pickering said that while "I can't stand Muslims ... they are not all bad [because] they do chuck pillow-biters off buildings", Andrew Bolt condemned him for it. Thank goodness we still have sacriligeous scallywags like Pickering amongst us! Meanwhile in Hamburg poets are told to rewrite their works to satisfy the lit/crit niceties of the Turkish President – and in France a 16 year old ethnic Danish Moslem girl is arrested for making bombs…

Larry: ‘What did I say that I will not apologise for? It went something like this, “Muslims can’t be all bad, I mean they do chuck pillow biters off buildings don’t they?” I have many homosexual friends who saw it as a joke... it was the sort of bullshit banter exchanged between holes on a golf course. The SMH infiltrated a private dinner where they were determined to find something to offend someone’

10/02/2017: Escaping the Heat: Who needs an air conditioner? Go up a thousand metres and you lose approx 8C. The Baw Baw Plateau this week has been beautiful with maximums in the low twenties whilst folks below in the Latrobe Valley or Melbourne sweltered in the high thirties. We are so lucky we have the Upper Yarra Track ( to retreat to in these circumstances. We were camped on the top of Mt Horsefall during the worst of this ‘heat wave’ where there was also a lovely cool breeze.

There are lots of spots you can camp all along eg the Forty Mile Break Rd (North of Noojee) which is mown to a width of nearly two chains all around the magnificent mountain ash which form a broad avenue along it. Certainly one of the five most beautiful (2WD) roads in Australia (open November to May). Along the Baw Baw Plateau (4-600 metres higher) it was even cooler. How glorious to be camped eg at Mt Whitelaw or Mt St Phillack saddle in this weather.

Here we are set up in a sheltered shady spot atop Mt Horsefall – with even a mobile and internet connection!

The view out our front door.

Spot takes a closer look at that magnificent view over the Yarra Ranges National Park.

Of course we were even able to cool off on the way with a quick trip to the beautiful Toorongo Falls just outside Noojee on the way.

Map: See Rooftop’s ‘Yarra ValleyWest Gippsland’.

10/02/2017: So, closing Hazelwood is a good idea?

10/02/2017: So, Trump was clearly right and Clinton nearly won the Presidency on a wave of fraudulent votes:…/illegal_aliens_really_do_v… In Australia ‘You can use your driver's licence, Australian passport number or have someone who is enrolled confirm your identity.’ So I wonder how big voter fraud is here? It has clearly been the case for a long time that the Labor Party seeks to import as many new ‘client’ voters as they can to rely on the taxpayer’s largesse.

10/02/2017: And now for a Dutch Trump (Will Le Pen be next?):

08/02/2017: Hammock Pad Extender: Ed Speer hit on this lightweight way to ensure that you stay warm in your hammock many years ago. You could make this yourself in a lightweight nylon (eg .7 oz/yd2, such as this: I don’t need the insulation for my knees as I always sleep on my bnack in a hammock, so mine would weigh half of the one shown in the photo ie less than a square yard of fabric plus two pieces of evazote 1 ½’ x 6”, so less tha 2 ounces anyway.

08/02/2017: The secret of true happiness: Study, Majority Of Humans Happiest When Rest Of Family Still Asleep:

08/02/2017: A Trump Progress Report: In two weeks, he has accomplished 27 things he promised to do. Like it or not,  I doubt any previous president can claim as much. If only we had a Prime Minister like this! Perhaps soon we will.

1.   ‘Trump erased all mentions on the White House web site of “climate change.”  He did that within ONE HOUR of taking the oath of office.

2.   Trump issued an Executive order to “ease the burden of Obamacare”

3.   Trump returned the bust of Winston Churchill to the oval office

4.   Trump withdrew America from the TPP treaty

5.   Trump erased all Spanish language from the White House web site. It is now “English Only.”

6.   Trump issued an Executive order starting the construction of “THE WALL.”

7.   Trump issued an Executive order banning funding to foreign pro-abortion groups

8.   Trump's new Secretary of Defense, James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, took the fight to ISIS by bombing them 31 times on his first day as the new Secretary of  Defense

9.   Trump announced temporary ban on refugees from Syria and Middle Eastern war zones

10.        Trump imposed a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding new contracts or grants

11.        Trump announced a ban on visas from dangerous Muslim-majority countries with inadequate screening

12.        Trump announced the end of “Sanctuary cities” and the defunding of federal funds for any city that chooses to continue breaking the law

13.        Trump announced the hiring of 10,000 new border agents

14.        Trump signed an Executive order demanding the Secretary of Homeland Security publish a weekly list of violent crimes committed by illegal aliens

15.        Trump signed an Executive order freezing the hiring of non-essential federal employees

16.        Trump said out loud the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”

17.        Trump stopped payment on Obama’s final hour giveaway of $220 million to the Palestinian Authority

18.        Trump used Executive orders to give the go-ahead to the long-stalled Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines

19.        Trump got the State Department’s entire senior management team to resign in frustration.

20.        Trump announced his intention to withdraw From Climate & Environmental Accords Along With UN Funding Cuts of 40%

21.        Trump tweeted “Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!”

22.        Trump announced he’ll begin a major investigation into voter fraud in the 2016 election

23.        Trump got the chief of the Border Patrol to leave the agency in frustration at having to actually do his job!

24.        State Dept. Arms Control chief fired while on airplane;  Trump, told to turn around and fly back!

25.        Miami-Dade mayor orders jails to comply with Trump crackdown on ‘sanctuary’ counties

26.        Trump White House abruptly halts Obamacare ads.

27.   Trump appoints Neil Gorsuch to U.S. Supreme Court, a Justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia.’

28: Saves hundreds of millions on purchase of new planes: And so on it goes…

07/02/2017: So the evidence used to produce the ‘Paris Agreement’ has now been shown to be outrightly fraudulent! What possible reason could we have for implementing it then? What sane reason could there be for closing down Hazelwood and incurring a decade of blackouts until we come to our senses and finish building its replacement? Save Hazelwood now!

07/02/2017: DIY Netless hammock: Over the years we have made lots of hammocks, but we would have made a better job of we had followed some expert instructions. The following instructions and photos were kindly provided by Simon McGuire at Tier Gear, Australia’s own Hammock and Tarp manufacturer and Outfitter. See them for all the materials needed to build this and many other projects. If you do not feel up to building your own, you can purchase the completed items at a very reasonable price and with speedy delivery for your next big trip. This looks to me to be a very sound lightweight hammock and tarp duo - see: which should serve you well on many a camping/hunting trip. I am particularly impressed by the suspension system. NB; the fixed or adjustable centre line is a great addition to comfort too.

Tier Gear:

Above: the Goshawk hammock. This is what your completed hammock should look like (minus the insect netting).

‘Part 1 - Sewing the hammock body

Tools required:
a. Sharp scissors or rotary cutter
b. Fabric marking pencil or similar
c. Measuring tape or ruler
d. Long straight edge
e. Sewing machine

Materials used:

  1. A good quality polyester or nylon fabric. In this instance I used Argon 1.6 which is a ripstop nylon designed specifically for hammocks.
  2. Good quality sewing thread. Gutermann's Mara 70 would be a popular choice for the DIYer as would Rasant 75.


  1. Cut your fabric to the length you require, taking into account the end channels and some loss of length when you gather the hammock. For a 3.3metres length hammock I start with 3.6 metres of fabric, as my end channels take up 100mm at each end and there is also some loss when the hammock is gathered. Fabric width is usually around 1500mm.
  1. Sew a rolled hem along both long sides. Start by folding the edge over once, and then over again. My hems are usually around 10mm in width but you can go bigger or smaller. Start by sewing along the inside edge of your hem. A single line of stitching is adequate but a second line of stitching adds a professional touch, and some extra reinforcement to your hem. The second line of stitching should be just inside the outside edge of the fabric.
  2. Repeat Step 2 on the other side of your fabric. Once finished the hem on both sides it's time for the end channels to be sewn on the short sides of the fabric.4. There are a number of ways to sew the end channels. I measure down 100mm from the end of the fabric and mark a line across the width of the fabric. I then take the end of the fabric and fold it over so that it is a couple of mm before the marked line. Now I fold the end of the fabric over again to just past the raw edge and this time right on the marked line. This hides the raw edge inside the channel, and gives you four layers of fabric making up your channel at a width of about 25mm. If you are going to use the end channels to run your suspension directly through then this end channel may be made larger if required.5. Now you are going to sew the end channel down. Depending on how you are going to gather the hammock you will need to sew at least 2 lines of stitching, though 1 would be adequate, or 3 if you are going to run the suspension through the channel and hence making the stitching on the end channel weight bearing. I do not run the suspension through the end channel so I only sew 2 lines of stitching.6. Sew the first line of stitching along the inside edge of the end channel, and then the second line of stitching 4-5mm inside of the this. This second line of stitching ensure you capture the raw edge of the fabric inside the end channel.
  3. Repeat steps 4-6 at the other end of the fabric.8. Congratulations that is your hammock body sewn. Basically I could have broken it down to: sew a rolled hem on both long sides, then sew a bigger rolled hem along the short sides and then gather - job done! It really is that simple.

Part 2: Gathering the hammock, and attaching the suspension

Once your hammock is sewn the next step is gathering the ends. There are numerous ways to do this, including methods which don't require the sewing of end channels in your fabric but I will leave those methods to people who have experience with them. These methods require the sewing of an end channel as detailed in part 1 of making a net-less camping hammock.

Essentially when gathering the ends of your hammock, you are simply inserting something through the channel and tightening it in order to essentially a ball of fabric.

Method 1:

The first method involves running your suspension directly through the channel e.g. your whoopie sling or continuous loop, and cinching tight. This produces a clean looking finish, and is the method probably most commonly used by camping hammock manufacturers. This method places stress on the end channel stitching so you want to ensure you lay down some solid stitches, and have at least 3 parallel rows using quality sewing thread. It is not recommended for lightweight fabrics, where failures have been known to occur. It also produces a consistent gather of the hammock without much fuss.

If attaching a whoopie sling insert the fixed loop through the end channel

Run the adjustable loop of the whoopie through the fixed loop

Cinch tight and you are done. (Note: in the photo below there is only 2 rows of stitches, 3 are recommended for this method)

Method 2:

This method involves running a cord, or some people use a cable (zip) tie, to gather the ends. Your suspension, e.g. whoopie sling or fixed loop, is then girth hitched over the hammock fabric below the gather you have just created. The gather prevents the suspension from slipping off the end of the hammock. This method does not place any stress on your end channel stitching, and is fine to use on lightweight fabrics as well as heavier fabrics. There is some minor fiddling required when attaching your suspension to ensure a consistent gather of the fabric. If you like being able to change out your suspension quickly or play with different setups this is the method for you.

Insert cord through end channel. In this instance I am using 2mm VB cord.

Next you can tie a knot as per Knotty's method on Hammock Forums, insert a cable (zip) tie, or use a small cord lock as I have done below.

The cord lock method leaves a length of cord, depending on how long you cut it, I use around 600-650mm, which you can attach a mitten hook to the end and this gives you an attachement point for a peak bag, pillow of whatever you want at the ends of the hammock.

Next you need to attach your suspension by girth hitching to the fabric below the gather. If using a whoopie sling you simply run the adjustable loop of the whoopie sling through the fixed loop of the whoopie, and cinch tight. You may need to move the fabric around a little to ensure the fabric is gathered consistently.

You can run the suspension over the top of the gather as per below,

or run your suspension through the middle of the gather as per the photo below

Rather than attach the whoopie sling directly to the hammock, another option is use a continuous loop which allows you to disconnect your whoopie sling from the hammock, or allows you to easily change between whoopie slings or webbing based suspensions. Another advantage is if the distance between your two anchor points is too close then the loops can be attached directly to your tree straps through the use of a marlin spike hitch.

Whoopie hook spliced onto whoopie sling adjustable bury and attached to continuous loop.

Loop girth hitched to titanium cinch buckle for webbing suspension

Loop attached to TATO biner, Whoopie sling adjustable bury attaches to biner.

There are many options when making hammocks, and those options listed above are but a few.

Happy hanging.’

See also:

07/02/2017: ‘I am the baby’:

07/02/2017: I do so enjoy Willis. His tips on writing are something I must take to heart myself:

06/02/2017: If Bernardi does quit tomorrow, will there be a spill?


06/02/2017: Time Travellers?

 06/02/2017: Support for ‘others’ now at 29%. Turnbull is definitely on his way out. The only question is who/what will replace him:

06/02/2017: 100% Of US Warming Is Due To NOAA Data Tampering:

06/02/2017: Meanwhile, in Australia the extremely faulty Sydney Observatory data (flooded with urban heat island effects) is used to ‘correct’ the nation’s temperatures (ever upwards):

05/02/2017: Winners and Losers: a $41,000 bill for winning is too much! Abolish 18C:

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05/02/2017: Dubai’s Security Chief backs Trump’s ‘Moslem’ ban:

05/02/2017: I just love the wild places, and have long ago discovered Teddy’s various books about hunting too; I think I started with a book about hound hunting mountain lions in what is now Yellowstone. It should never be forgotten that this, the first national park in the world was declared by this great Republican President - & famous hunter. One of my all-time favourite films is the one about him starring Sean Connery and Candice Bergman; ‘The Wind & the Lion’. Do watch it. What a treat!


The most memorable photo in the book was of a treed ‘lion’ maybe 100’ up a pinon pine with a huge hound baying at him from about 6’ below: "The encouragement of a proper hunting spirit, a proper love of sport, instead of being incompatible with a love of nature and wild things, offers the best guaranty of their preservation." Theodore Roosevelt. Yes! You might begin your ‘love affair’ with Teddy perhaps with this book, ‘The Wilderness Hunter’

05/02/2017: Why Australia can't get it's own Donald Trump: Barrister Louise Clegg, writing for the Centre for Independent Studies,  explains

‘Our political system won't allow such a revolutionary - which means it's either too safe or too immune to reform. You decide.

We know many who voted for Trump neither liked nor admired him... Trump won not because it was him, but because he was up against Hillary, the most obscenely establishment politician to ever have run for President. At its simplest, Trump is the manifestation of the rejection by a lot of clear thinking, common sense people of ‘politics as usual’. And Hillary was the embodiment of ‘politics as usual’.

Why are the people (but not so much the establishment) rejecting politics as usual? Is it the spin, the broken promises, the talking points and slogans, the leaking, the annual entitlements scandals, the designer gear, the white cars? ...

But it’s worse. It is worse because the behaviour is worse. On both sides. The lack of respect for the office of prime minister - 5 in seven years...; the appalling treatment of Prime Ministers while in office; the now accepted idea that we are in perpetual campaign mode; the obsession with polls and polling; the abject lack of authenticity and of courage; the obscene increase in the numbers of advisors and their influence; the increasingly pervasive impact of vested interests. No one likes any of this, but ordinary people hate it more. Because this does not accord with the way they live their lives.

Add to this the values problem. Identity, outrage and victim politics has been embraced by Labor and progressive Liberals in a pretty big way. Many ordinary Australians think it is inappropriate (to say the least) that we are teaching kids in schools that it is perfectly normal to think that you might be a boy if you are a girl and vice versa, or that it’s perfectly standard to be sexually active with multiple partners in your early teens; they shake their heads when students who make a silly, bolshie remark on facebook or a political cartoonist is taken to court for being racist... These things are nuts and totally at odds with the common-sense values of middle Australia.

Possibly the most defining difference between insiders and outsiders here and around the world is their attitudes towards their country. In the suburbs and regions in Australia people are proud to be Australian; they love Australia day and ANZAC day; they think it is important to vet all immigrants, they don’t like immigrants coming here to go on to welfare; they think it is 100% fair for immigrants to integrate – after all, that’s what many of them have done and that’s what made modern Australia. These are the views of the mainstream right throughout the western world.

Yet big swathes of those who inhabit and control our institutions; journalists, CEOs, lawyers, academics and politicians in both major parties think that these attitudes are base and embarrassing... They have no problem at all (when it suits them) curtailing the freedoms that our founders assumed (freedom of speech, of the press, fair trial, property rights, religious freedom) in favour of their values.

The singular characteristic that propelled Trump was his willingness to take this on in a way that was unprecedented...

The big question for us is: can someone outside the mainstream parties emerge as a new knight in shining armour?....

Our innate conservatism, compulsory preferential voting and the monumental physical and human campaign infrastructure required in every [House of Representatives] seat leads me to the conclusion that it’s unlikely, at least in the short term. We’ll get some serious One Nation disruption in conservative states but it wont change things overnight. We will get more Clives, more Shooters and Fishers, and we might get a Cory. Absent the majors coming to their senses, we will get more minority governments and gridlock in the Senate.

And from within the major parties? We would do well to remember that the Donald launched himself from within the Republican party. He was a transplant, a seriously foreign body that nearly got rejected. But he survived, and emerged victorious from within a mainstream party. The prospect of one of the major parties in Australia now producing a parliamentary leader who is not put there by backroom deals, who will challenge his or her own party room and bring entitlements into line with community expectations, and eyeball vested interests is very remote. Yet this is what is required to restore faith.

There’s another huge impediment, and that is Westminster. I was reminded recently that Jim Spigelman used to have a wonderful line in his speech when he admitted new solicitors to the Supreme Court: “We Australians like to think of this as a young country. Indeed, the second line of our national anthem is that we are young and free but when it comes to basic mechanisms of government, the rule of law and parliamentary democracy, this is an old country.” On that measure we are older, and more evolved than the USA. But this also makes us more immune to political disruption.

‘Responsible government’ is a serious bulwark against populism. The requirement that the head of state (be it a monarch or not) by convention exercises no political power; that the head of the government is a member of parliament; that he or she leads the executive council which is entirely comprised of those who sit in the parliament and is merely the ‘first among equals’; that the executive has both individual and collective responsibilities to the parliament and to the cabinet.

All these things evolved over centuries quite deliberately so that Westminster is a serious brake on untrammelled executive power. It’s a genius system of ensuring that no individual gets too much ahead of themselves. It is a strength in that it is conducive to stability no matter the battering. It is a weakness in that there is a practical limit to what leaders can do. Pressure in the system can only be relieved through elections. Which is now not that helpful when both major parties are beset by the same structural and values problems.

It is very hard therefore, both in theory and in practice for populism to flourish in an Australian context.

However, the little bit of Washington which we inherited from the USA (the Senate) counteracting the stability that is inherent in Westminster. The Senate is now operating in a way entirely removed from what was intended. Governments simply cannot execute their agendas. To be fair to the politicians, this has become such a serious structural impediment that it is probably the number one factor in what is now, without doubt, a crisis in our democracy...’

 05/02/2017: ‘The half-life of medical knowledge is approximated at seven years. That means that half of what you think you know about health, illness, and medical practice today will be obsolete in seven years. It will be replaced by new better science of which, in turn, half will be obsolete seven years later. That's how it works. Skepticism about current knowledge is always appropriate. The cholesterol panic is just the most recent, dramatic example. Big mistake. Not all docs have got the memo yet. "Never mind." Eat those eggs and bacon and sausages like you always wanted to, and skip the darn oatmeal unless it's all you can afford. And imagine that, in seven years, Mr. Science will tell you to eat candy and Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.’ Dr Joy Bliss

04/02/2017: How to fall and not break your bones: ‘The other thing to avoid…is “foosh,” an acronym for “falling onto outstretched hands.” If you do that, all the force of impact will be concentrated there, raising the risk of breaking your wrist. You similarly don’t want to come crashing down on your knee so you break your kneecap or do that manoeuvre where you kind of pedal with your feet to catch yourself, which can lead to broken bones in your foot and ankle. Instead, if you feel yourself falling, experts said you should bend your elbows and knees and try to take the hit on the fleshiest parts of your body, like the side of your thigh, buttocks and shoulder. “Aim for the meat, not bone,” said Kevin Inouye, a stuntman and assistant professor of acting, movement and stage combat at the University of Wyoming…The key is to not fight the fall, but just to roll with it, as paratroopers do’.

04/02/2017: Wonderful News: SpaceX has launched its first Falcon 9 rocket & successfully delivered 10 satellites into orbit for Iridium Communications Inc. About 10 minutes after Saturday's launch, the first stage of the rocket, which had separated from the rest of craft, successfully touched down on a platform in the Pacific Ocean:

04/02/2017: Resilient Coral: Several vast new coral reefs have been found where no coral ‘should’ grow – someone should tell it! Others have been found in incredibly acid environments – or unbelievably hot ones. I have observed them growing happily in the frigid water s of Milford Sound NZ. Coral just won’t behave, won’t lay down and die:

03/02/2017: The Ethical Hunter: I really appreciate feedback such as this - and what a stunning photograph:



I recently read your sambar stalking articles and really appreciated your old school view point. I have been a hunter/bushy for most of my life, but what I haven’t taught myself I learnt from my old man, who is very much and old school bushy. I've mostly traveled the bush on my own (in a 4x4) all through the Vic high country.


Although new to sambar stalking as such, ever since I was a kid, I used to try and stalk rabbits, read their body language, anticipate their next move, practice moving slowly, quietly, etc. I still need to pull my finger out and get a decent deer gun, and my game license, but I had a bit of a stalk while away over the Xmas break, and managed to get this photo of a doe and fawn.


I don’t have the best camera gear yet so the longest focal length lens I have is 135mm. I stalked these two up to about 30 yards, got this one photo, and they bolted (I swear it was the sound of the shutter that set them off!) Had I had a 270 rather than a camera, I'd probably be butchering now rather than talking to you.


That said, its always been about the hunt for me, not the kill. I've taken 50 odd rabbits in a night, and not had the same feeling of accomplishment as I did after stalking these two deer. I couldn't agree more with the points you make (camo clothes, trail cameras, 500 yard shots, scopes, pretty much all of the points you make). I've always loved the elusive sambar stag, I guess I kind of relate to them, to their solidarity, the way everybody is gunning for them, the untamed country they call home, reminds me a lot of myself a bit.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your articles. I have bookmarked your website, and I will no doubt refer to it many times in the future. I really appreciated your view, tips, tricks etc. Especially the iron sights, and no camo. Thank you very much for putting it out there, very much appreciated from a not so young bloke that’s just getting into sambar, but trying to do it the right way, the respectful, ethical way...
Thank you. Thanks heaps mate.


I've spent way more time than I should have reading your articles the past day or so. For me at least, its great to read the ethical hunter point of view, and without firing a shot, I’ve learnt more from reading your website than I have from years of listening to others talk crap about the latest and greatest camo gear, or trail cameras. I genuinely do appreciate the info you have put out for us all. Any ethical, respectful (of the animal) hunter would be well advised to take the advise of blokes like you. Thank you,’ Matt Elder. (And thank you, Matt Elder).

03/02/2017: Amazing Earth: a lava ‘waterfall’ in Hawaii! How close is that boat?

03/02/2017: Bend That Knee to No Man: This was always bad advice: the reason old men and women shuffle is they have followed it, so that their legs have weakened and stiffened. They need to be doing really lots of squats and legwork in general if they are to remain decently mobile including at least 10,000 steps a day as I have recommended before here. Society would avoid the cots of lots of knee/hip operations and aged care if they did. Too many young people are also developing this stiff-legged shuffle after too many hours on the couch . The bad news: Nine Unexpected Things That Happen When You Abandon Your Workout Routine: Use it or lose it. Strength and power diminish measurably after two weeks, cardio fitness after one week without stress. The older you are, the quicker the loss.


03/02/2017: Trump and May really do represent a bold new dawn which will hopefully presage a better world than that envisaged by the socialists and bureaucrats. Long live the Anglosphere:

03/02/2017: Did Trump hang up on Turnbull? You’d better believe it! Trump’s own words: ‘Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal! Turnbull doesn’t deny the call ended 35 minutes early. Turnbull is toast!

03/02/2017: This is the Left’s response to the reality of Free Speech: Violence.  There really is little diference between today’s left and Hitler’s brownshirts. Another Kristallnacht is coming

02/02/2017: Poly Tent by The Ultralight Hiker on the Cheap: As part of a series on economy backpacking, I bring you my new poly tent made from a ‘standard 8’ x 10’ poly tarp bought from the local Churchill $2 shop. This one cost me A$7.99 and took only minutes to make. Mark out the tie-out positions as shown. Use Tarp clips or polystyrene balls as tie outs - so actual tie out position will be about 2” inside the fabric edge. Tie Apex to an extended hiking pole (4’ height) as shown. Peg out Rear point, then two End points approx 6” forward. Then loosely toe out two Front points (as shown) then two Side points. Cut slit. Attach tie downs to Flaps for closure. Place ground sheet (and dog) inside. Enjoy.

As you can see, Spot is now an uncle.

Fully open.

Interior: inside 6’ x 4’ poly tarp ground sheet.

Fully open.

Storm mode.


Made in minutes from one of these.


See also:

02/02/2017: ‘This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made. But it always was and will be: an ever-living fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out’ (Heraclitus of Ephesus c500BC) One of my all-time favourites. I also love, ‘No man ever steps in the same river twice.’ The Universe IS vast; it is more than likely there are many ‘Gods’ ie creatures so much more advanced than us as to be wholly incomprehensible, somewhere out among the stars – perhaps even an infinite number of them, whatever that means…but neither they nor anyone else made the universe, nor have they any concern for the affairs of man, any more than you have any concern for the tiniest ant you unknowingly crush underneath your feet! Such illusory thought are merest delusion; a mistake of scale: when you are high on a mountain looking down on the vast panorama before you, you might well say, ‘Well, this is reality’, but when you lie down on your belly and peer beneath the blades of grass to see perhaps an ant crawling over a grain of sand (mayhap bearing a speck of dung on her shoulders not unlike the world), you might well say the same thing, ‘’his is reality’. Theology is all a mistake of scale. To ourselves, and our loved ones we are all-important – as it should be, but in the mighty scheme of things we are less than dust – and, it doesn’t matter! We are not that very far from our remote proto-lemur ancestors hiding in the green gloom of a primaeval jungle, peering out between the fronds at the passing giants…

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night

Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:

And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught

The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light…’   

02/02/2017: Is Pauline Australia’s Donald Trump? One Nation now at nearly 10%. You would have to be a fool to think Turnbull is not a dead duck with 46%:

01/02/2017: Introducing Telstra’s new 1 gigabyte mobile network: Sounds like the NBN wasn’t such a good idea – unless you just want to waste money:

01/02/2017: Yarra Falls Shelter House: Anyone searching for this ‘lost’ ruin may be helped by these ‘new ‘ photos which have just come to light, and these wonderful historical accounts. The three photos show the old hut. I presume the new hut was built very close by it. They show the hut to be much further up the ridge (not near the flat at all!) and much further up the Falls Creek valley than one might have imagined. The remains of the concrete chimney of the ‘new’ hut should be fairly obvious – even though the timber there is quite thick! (Photos as usual courtesy of Thomas Osburg).



Early Trips to Upper Yarra Falls: This is from 1911 with the writer looking back many decades. Yarra Falls was known as Panton Falls, then Campbell Falls and Falls Creek was once called Queens Birthday Creek:


Upper Yarra Falls: To the Editor of the Argus: Sir, Mr. Panton's letter on the discovery of Mount Donna Buang, that appeared in "the Argus" of the lst inst, brought back to me recollections of the time-half a century ago when I was one of the many hardy prospectors who penetrated the dense scrubs and steep mountain ranges of the Upper Yarra, in search of gold. I have still a vivid recollection of the night -a most uncomfortable one-I passed with Mr. Panton on Queen's Birthday Creek, on May 24, 1866; but I think that gentleman makes an error when he alludes to me as the discoverer of the falls near the head of the river.


I am under the impression that they were visited by a party of surveyors in the year 1845. I certainly re-discovered them in 1867, and named the waterfall (there are several) after Mr. Panton. It would be a graceful act to abandon the present name (Campbell) bestowed on the lower fall, long after my visit, and revert to the original one, as it would keep green the memory of a gentleman who did much to open up the Upper Yarra valley, and develop their mineral and other resources. Yours, &c., July 19. J. Blackburne.


Yarra Falls 1888. This is the middle part of a 3 part article. Leader (Melbourne, Vic. 1862 - 1918), Saturday 22 November 1884, page 16 The Contributor: An Excursion to the Upper Yarra Falls By G. No. II:


We struck camp next morning at half-past nine. Just after starting we noticed a tree marked W. From this we understood that we had been encamped on the two mile water. This made our march of the previous day a little over 8 miIes, The height of our camp measured by the barometer was 1700 feet above McMahon's, We proceeded along the south watershed of the Yarra in a general easterly direction. The prevailing character of the country was the same as on the evening before, The track was often perceptible as a sort of avenue through the scrub, though in the clearest places knee deep in ferns and wire grass and obstructed by logs.


We passed through several saddles separated by small rills. At about twelve o'clock we could see a great spur coming in to join the ridge we were following from the north - that is on our left, This could be nothing else than the right watershed of Alderman's Creek. We were, therefore, making good progress, and might hope to reach the Yarra that night. So we went on for another half hour, when our horse, in getting over a log, slipped and fell. He could not rise again with the pack and we had to unload him, but he was none the worse.


As we began to ascend the hill we found the sides and top of it covered with huge logs hundreds of foot long, as if it had been cleared by a survey party, The interstices between them were filled with tall bracken and scrub with white flowers, and the track seemed altogether obliterated. We made our way very slowly round and over the logs, and presently the horse got another fall, and we had to unload and reload again.


There was a good look out from many places down the valley of Alderman's Creek and of the ranges across the Yarra, We found the top of this mountain was 1200 feet above our camp of the previous night, or about 4000 feet above the sea level. It is unnamed on the maps. We christened it Mount Horsefall. The fallen logs gave It a prevailing white appearance, but it contrasted with the pale green which had hitherto characterised the crest of 'the range.


At about four o'clock we began to descend a little, and get into a forest, in which the beech tree was the prevailing timber, though largely mixed with tall gums and messmates. But little vegetation grows under a beech tree; what there was was the blue gum fern with the crimped frond I have noticed before. Moreover, the beech tree is seldom uprooted. It slowly decays as it stands and falls piecemeal, The ground in a beech forest is therefore encumbered by but little fallen timber.


As soon as we got under the beech trees the track improved very much. They were mingled, however, with very tall messmates, from which large quantities of dry bark in strips 4 or 5 inches across and 30 or 40 feet long or more had fallen to the ground, and lay in large coils. These continually tangled our feet, and it was difficult to get free of them, One would continually find one was dragging a tail behind many feet long. On getting under the beech trees the prevailing tints again changed. The black earth was bare, and varied shades of brown or dark green met the eye in every direction.


Towards the south and east the slope was so steep that we got a look out over Gippsland as far as the ranges in the neighbourhood of Baw Baw. The earth seemed everywhere moist; in places one could hear the water under one's feet. The track continued slowly to descend, and our view became shut in on all sides. About six o’clock we found ourselves in a saddle. This we identified upon our tracing as about 6 miles from our camp of the night before And 4 miles from the Yarra. It seemed a likely place to find water. There were a few beech trees and messmates on the saddle, and a forest of white gums, tall, slender poles like the mast of a ship, 300 feet high at the least, with a tuft of foliage at the top. There was a fern tree gully coming up to the saddle on each side. The earth was black and moist, and for the most part bare.


R. found a good stream of water a little way down on the south side of the saddle, so we determined to camp. We pitched the tent under two beech trees, whose thick foliage would protect us from any sticks that might be blown off from the gums, and made our bed of fronds cut from the ferns. When we got up the next morning a strong north wind was blowing, shaking the tall, white ferns like corn stalks, bending them as if to break with a great roaring noise. We did not make a start until about half-past ten, when we at once began to ascend out of the saddle, and soon came out into the sunshine on to a hill covered with fallen timber and sword grass, and from which there was a good view of the opposite ranges. The logs had rotted and broken into fragments, and were therefore not the obstacle they had been on Mount Horsefall.


After a little we again descended into a beech forest. Here the track was clearer than we had yet found it. It was obstructed by little else than small sticks. There was a little of the usual green fern, but except for that the ground was clear of undergrowth on all sides. The dark foliage of the beech trees overhead shut out the sky. In order to keep the track it was necessary to keep a sharp look out for blazes.


After about a couple of miles gum trees again appeared mixed with the beech trees, and we were again troubled by fallen timber. About the same time we found growing in the track tall solitary stalks of grass like oats which shot up with a stem as thick as one's finger, seven or eight feet high. Finding the horse would eat the two gathered bundles of it, as we went along. A little after twelve o'clock the horse got another fall getting over a log. We had to unload, and determined to have lunch.


When we again made a start we found it had been raining heavily, and that the scrub was very wet. In a little while we got out of the beech forest, and began to ascend a hill covered with tall standing gums and thick bracken up to our shoulders. Through this we pushed our way, getting drenched through. When we gained the top of the hill we found our track appeared to leave the ridge, and turn down the sideling to the north-east. After turning down on the sideling we were soon again in a beech forest, and out of the high wet bracken.


In about half a mlle we came to tho creek, which was broad and shallow, scarcely covering the ground. It crossed the track from left to right- not from right to left, as marked in our tracing. The descent from the ridge to this creek was not more than 200 or 300 feet, and not at all steep, considering it was on a sideling. We crossed the creek and ascended to tho ridge on the opposite side. Crossing it we descended on a sideling to the Yarra, which we at once passed over. It was a much smaller stream than that we have left at McMahon’s, being about 30 feet wide and about up to our ankles, with, however, a good current.


The scene was a peculiar one. It was still raining hard. Heavy clouds rested on the tops of the beech trees from 50 to 70 feet above us, which lined the river banks and covered the slopes, and hung in festoons between them, but below it was clear. We had no time to stand and watch it, however, being wet through. We had to get to work and camp at once. In about twenty minutes we had a fire big enough to roast an ox. Having pitched our tent we looked about for something to make a bed of, and the best thing we could find was a heap of bark at the foot of a neighbouring messmate. This we dragged in front of the fire and dried, after which we had our evening meal round the fire. We stood up round it for some time drying clothes, while the horse stood warming his nose on the opposite side of the fire. Finally we turned in.


We were up at six the next morning. There was still a slight rain, We had breakfast, and at half-past eight we started in search of the falls. Our camp was shown by the barometer to be 2100 foot above McMahon’s or only 500 feet lower than the top of Mount Horsefall. It was distant from Reefton by the road we had come just 20 miles, or in a straight line about 15. Now, the Yarra did not change its level to any great extent between McMahon’s and Reefton, or for some miles above the latter place. The difference in elevation therefore gave room for a high fall. Moreover, the country we were in appeared to be an elevated plateau, to which we had ascended abruptly at Mount Horsefall, and which would probably come to an abrupt termination.


We accordingly started down stream, crossing a considerable tributary on the right bank just below our camp, Tho river ran through a beech forest, and as nothing will grow under the beech trees, its banks were without that fringe of peculiar vegetation which is usually such a marked feature in an Australian river or creek. After a little we went over to the left bank, and crossed a small creek which joined the river on that bank, we then came upon a series of small hills, perhaps altogether fifty or sixty, There was, however, a good indication of something better. We could see a light through the trees ahead as from a largo clearing. This appearance could only be occasioned by the edge of an abrupt declivity.


We pushed on and soon began to get glimpses of a valley a long way below us, and to hear tho roar of a great fall. The beech forest ceased with the edge of that declivity, and the slopes below, when not too steep and bare for anything either to grow or stand on, were covered with undergrowth, mostly ti-tree. To see the fall we must get below it. We accordingly descended as rapidly as a regard for our necks would permit several hundred feet, and made our way on to a ledge down to the water. From this point we could see the water falling above and below us over a face of dark rocks in a series of steps. The fall was shaded by ti-tree, with occasional tree ferns on the ledges. The spray fell like rain. We were too close to the face of the fall, and tho ledge we were on would not permit us getting further out.


We were not the first persons who had viewed the Yarra falls from this spot, for we saw a tree with a blaze on it, on which was a name, partly overgrown with bark, which we mado out to be A. Burns. We then crossed over, scrambled along the face of the cliff and made our way down another hundred feet or two, and got another view of the falls, with, however, the disadvantage that we were too close to see far up or down. This point was by the barometer 550 feet below the top of tho fall. We could see the fall for about 50 feet below it. It was a continuous fall all the way, interrupted only by small ledges. There is, however, no reason to suppose that the lowest point to which we could see was anywhere near the bottom of the fall. Judging from the appearance of the valley it was far from being so. The total height of the fall therefore, can scarcely be less than 700 feet or 900 feet; it is probably 1000 feet.


We had not seen by any means as much of the falls as we should have liked, but we were compelled to return. It was Tuesday, and R. had to be In a distant part of Victoria by the following Monday morning. For this purpose it was necessary that he should be in Melbourne by Saturday. We could scarcely do this unless we moved on that day. Moreover, our oats were running out, and there was not a scrap of feed at our present camp, while our tracing showed that on the Thompson, 4 miles on, there was grass. We accordingly turned back towards our camp.


In returning we got a view of a great cascade, forming the top-most rip on the fall, which we had not seen going down. By half-past one we had regained our camp. We then bathed in the Yarra, had lunch, struck our camp, and started for the Thompson, where we hoped to camp that night. It was shown by our tracing to be 4 miles distant. The track in the first instance followed the ridge of the very low spur between the main arm of the Yarra and tho tributary that joined it just below our camp. After a little the track forked; we took, the left fork, which took us down to the tributary at a point where two creeks united to form it; beyond this the track was not apparent.


After a little we found a place where a tent had been pitched, with a rude platform of round timber to raise it off the ground. We had evidently come upon an old surveyor's camp. That explained how it was that the track ran out. We accordingly returned and took tho right hand fork of the track. After we had gone about three quarters of a mile the track turned down to and crossed the creek on our left, and shortly afterwards began to ascend a ridge on a sideling. The top of this ridge was not. more than 100 feet or so above our camp. On it we found white gum timber. The ridge was narrow, and the track immediately descended on a sideling on the other side, about 300 feet into a narrow valley containing a fine stream of water. The sides of the valley were lined with beech trees, with a few tree ferns. This creek must form the right fork of the Yarra as laid down on the maps; and as its level appeared lower than the top of the falls, must join, the left fork below them.


Crossing the creek we ascended on a steep sideling on the other side to a height somewhat greater than that from which we had descended, and found ourselves in a forest of white gums mixed with beech trees, with a good deal of undergrowth. The creek, however, continued tolerably clear. We were now upon the crest of the dividing range, between the waters of the Yarra and the Thompson, marked on the maps as Wright's Range. A little before seven o'clock the track began to descend gently, and we reached a fine stream of water crossing the track from north to south, spanned by a good log bridge. This stream, which was much larger than either fork of the Yarra, or, I should say, than both of them together, we made out to be the Thompson. Here we determined to camp.


A little way up from the river, to the right of the track we had come by we found an open glade carpeted with good grass. On this were the remains of an old survey camp, consisting of log platforms, similar to that we had noticed on the Yarra. There appeared to be a succession of rich glades along the river, divided only by low scrub, tall timber not being found till some little way up the slopes on either side. There was, therefore, a clear view up and down tho river for some way over the top of the scrub. We could see the sky, too, overhead and in front of us. All this was a change after the dense grass through which we had been travelling for the last four days, The edge of the other valley was lined with large white gums, say 100 foot high, with straight, thick limbs tapering to the top, and wide spreading arms a little more than half way up. The slopes behind were covered with a mass of plants of different kinds. Every here and there above this rose to a great height huge logs, white with age and black with fire, without limbs, broken at the top.


Though generally impressed by the view, there was a feeling of solitude connected with this camp not experienced elsewhere in the course of this trip. The height of this camp was 2300 feet above McMahon’s, or only 100 feet lower than our camp on the Yarra. We were still, however, above a high plateau, as high or higher than the top of Mount Macedon. We were now about 23 miles from Reefton, and about 14 from Mount Lookout. (Thanks once again to Thomas Osburg for these accounts)

01/02/2017: This is truly astonishing: Images of giant planets orbiting a star 129 light years away. I do so love progress:

01/02/2017: The overpowering and overbearing nature of the leftist orthodoxy is definitively underlined by this excellent recent movie Alone in Berlin (which I wholeheartedly recommend) based on the lives of two very ordinary Germans who stood up to Hitler and his thugs – and were beheaded for their pains;

Janet Albrechtsen is a similar brave woman. She puts on a Donald Trump hat and walks the streets of New  York: ‘Later I venture out from my hotel room wearing a red Make America Great Again cap. It’s half experiment, half up-yours to the bad losers. A well-dressed man in his 60s is in the lift as I enter at the 41st floor. “I support you,” he says quietly, even though we’re alone. “You’re brave to be stepping out in that.” We talk about how crazy that is after a democratic election and an inauguration...

In fact, three for three in my favour tells its own crazy story. The second comment is a quick “I’m with you” from a bloke walking towards me. Later, at the annual Winter Antiques Fair at the Park Avenue Armory, I’m finishing off lunch at the cafe when two well-dressed upper-middle-class New Yorkers sit near me. The man asks politely whether my tomato soup is good. Yes, I say, and he tells me about his vegetarian chilli soup. After a few more sips of his soup, he motions to the Trump hat. “You’re brave to wear that hat,” he says quietly. “But I’m with you,” he adds, echoing my two previous interlocutors. Quietly, his wife says she is with me too.’

So long as you are a feminist, nothing else matters:

31/01/2017: Why we should retain Australia Day, a fine essay:

31/01/2017: Say’s Law: ‘The European economies, and Australia as well, emerged from the Great Depression faster than we have today because they used classical theory and policy to work things out. The UK famously balanced its budget in 1933, at the very trough of the Great Depression. We cut spending here in 1931 and (were) the first economy to come out of the Great Depression with the Australian trough being reached in 1931 from which time things continually improved. Only the American economy, with its Keynesian-Roosevelt road to recovery remained in the Great Depression right up until the US entered the war at the end of 1941.’ Keynesianism is recognised as having protracted the ‘Great Depression’ in the US by 7+ years! Why are the Left still so in favour of it? For some bizarre reason they think that their ‘intellectuals’ and bureaucrats can more sensibly manage the economy than the market can. A compromise might be (if you really want to throw good money after bad) to have that managed by business leaders (in that capital is always in short supply – and ought not to be wasted on building ‘ivory towers’!):…/paul-krugman-and-his-continuin…/

30/01/2017: Extreme kayaking: Watch Kayakers Take a Beating In 90-Foot Falls:

PS: This is not for me and Della!

If you liked this you might also enjoy reading this book: Hell or High Water, Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo  River by Peter Heller. The title is a bit of a misnomer as not all did survive. The surprise to me is that any did!,204,203,200_.jpg

30/01/2017: Restore Pdf Maps Functionality: I recommended this App back in Nov ’14: Many folks have probably noticed that their Pdf Maps App has updated to Avenza and that now they are only able to open three maps for free instead of an unlimited number of maps, and that Avenza would like them to pay over $30 per year to restore the functionality they had before!

As I understand it, Pdf Maps (version 1.7.3) is free software – indeed it seems that its functionality may well have been created by someone else ie TerraGo – see this Wikipedia article: In any case you can download it for free from a variety of sources, eg,407396/

This Youtube (and others) tells you how to uninstall Avenza and put Pdf Maps in its place. You have to be sure to cancel the ‘Update’ function so this doesn’t happen to you again. Once again you will be able to open an unlimited number of Pdf maps for free - such as can be bought from: some of which you may need to walk The Upper Yarra Track, for example:

Happy mapping!

30/01/2017: Oxfam once again reveals what most of us already knew about do-gooders such as doomsayers, Greens, charities, world savers and their ilk, ie that they are pretty much all just unreconstructed communists once you get their gear off them: Actually ‘You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich,’ else who would there be left to make us all richer, as the barons of industry have been doing for quite some time now, two  hundred years at the very least? Thanks for that chaps! Dalrymple puts the lie so neatly to this pernicious Oxfam pap:

That homily incidentally was written by the Rev William John Henry Boetcker (1873–1962) and not Abraham Lincoln:

  • ‘You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
  • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.’

Boetcker also spoke of the ‘Seven National Crimes’

  • ‘I don’t think.
  • I don’t know.
  • I don’t care.
  • I am too busy.
  • I leave well enough alone.
  • I have no time to read and find out.
  • I am not interested.

Well said! Sound advice!

30/01/2017: When the raw data has been altered so fantastically, we are entitled to cry, ‘Fake!’ When so-called climate scientists are doing this all over the world, it is hard to believe anything they say: These charts too are worth a look:

30/01/2017: Strangely, when Obama banned ‘Moslem’ immigrants, the left said nothing!

29/01/2017: Wonnangatta: Waterford to Angusvale Day Three: We were so glad we stopped at the (first) Surprise rapid; The dawn was spectacular! As I went down to check the water just as the sun was lighting the hill to the East, its warmth caused the whole pool to 'boil' with mist. My eye was at first caught by a mysterious patch of foam drifting on the limpid pool, then I looked up and was enchanted by the dawn. I managed to catch it in the photo here. You have to be in the right place at the right time!

The strange circle of foam...

And then, the dawn:

We just could not stop snapping away at it.

Della of course took the best photo with her new birthday Galaxy S7.


Then I looked upstream to try to understand where the foam had come from. There was a weird gyre at the head of the pool.

Here it is in detail.

Della also took this photo of Spot and me examining the gyre. The river was so reflective in the early morning light.

Then a small black diver swirled through the mist.

Upstream the pool had become a magic mirror.

Whilst downstream it was a dream of silver...

Then to check out the first rapid. Churning away in a tumult. I opined I could shoot it with each boat in turn as I had the last but one grade 2 rapid (we had portaged the last). Della urged caution as we were far from help. We checked out an old pack track on the true right bank and decided we could carry the boats the 100 metres around it. So we did.

Then we came to the second 'Surprise rapid. A somewhat shorter portage over mostly flattish rocks. This one would definitely have you out. One rock would hurl you one way whilst instantly another would hurl you the other. Paradoxically it might be better with more water. We portaged three times in all, then after a tricky Grade 2 rapid with a sharp right turn in it we were mostly safe on placid waters. We should have portaged it as well as it gave Della quite a fright.

The calm after the storm.

And so it (mostly) went on.

Past these beautiful, interesting trees - the greenest, shadiest most luxuriant native tree I have ever seen in Victoria. They were 10 metres high, had smooth bark...

And these pretty sweet smelling yellow flowers - perhaps a reader can help me out. I would plant some.

Still half a dozen small rapids before Angusvale. Like this one...

And this.

A bee-eater (one of many we saw) atop this dead bush.

Della was still going strong even though she had quite a shock on the tricky Grade 2 rapid (which we ought have portaged)!

The dogs still showed a lot of interest in our progress...

These bushes are what we used to call 'native willow' They will not do such a good job of retaining the riverbanks though!

The second last rapid.

The last small drop (and Angusvale) are just around the bend. What a delightful three days' adventure. The Wonnangatta is certainly a river to dream of...

You can check the river heights here:

Check suggested river heights below. If you are unsure whether there is sufficient water, you can canoe the short (half-hour) section from Meyers Flat to the Cobbanah Creek confluence to check it out.

Appropriate Vicmaps: Cobannah North T8322-4-N and Tabberabbera North T8322-1-N available here: Use Avenza App.

See Also:

Section 1:

Section 2:

Section 3:

For River Heights:

29/01/2017: Meanwhile Trump does what he said he will do (what a refreshing change from conventional politics!) For example, this morning Moslems intending to fly to the US were being turned back at airports all over the world. Good luck with that refugee deal Malcolm! 

29/01/2017: The Secret Holocaust: Given the resurgence of anti-Semitism (particularly amongst the Left) in the world today, accompanied by the complete disappearance of Jews from many countries - particularly in the Middle East, you should read this article and watch at least one of the films, eg ‘Guardians of Remembrance’: &

29/01/2017: Enjoy life! A whole heap of ‘food myths’ busted here:,-re-posted.html

28/01/2017: Wonnangatta: Waterford to Angusvale Day Two: The second day we ventured as far as the 'Surprise Rapid' which took us five hours (this is including brief halts for lunch, snacks, etc - and at retiree speeds), but mostly speed is related to water flow, and we are canoeing the Wonnangatta this summer with very low flows because of the effects of the bushfires years ago.

We had camped the first night just before the complete end of private property on the right bank. In most cases there is a public margin where you can camp even though there is private property along the river. It was not long before I spied an enormous stag (without antlers) running with two wild cows and calves which I thought an amazing thing. He was too quick for a photo though! Not long afterwards though our passage was blocked by a party of wild bulls which we waited to disburse - as they were not behaving in the most friendly manner! I judged all of these stock to be wild as they were running on public land/National park and had no eartags and they were clearly all sorts of crossbreeds.

They do look daunting, don't they. I was pretty keen to stop Spot barking and antagonising them!

There were a few more interesting rapids in this section.

And we finally came to the end of the dread willow blight! The riverbanks resumed their beauty.

Some of these rapids would disappear at a greater river height - or become more difficult!

Della is hiding behind that island before she comes down this one:

With a very professional style!

Spot and Tiny look back towards her, most impressed.

After an hour or two a break for a snack.

And then onwards again!

The various herbivores are keeping this national park well mown. There is much more grass on various private properties across the river.

A wedge-tailed eagle combs the cloudy sky.

Another pleasant rapid.

The remains of an old swing bridge I guess.

And Spot investigates a bathtub which may come in handy in case we lose our canoes!

There are some fearsome predators as in these waters (river monsters perhaps - well there are giant carp anyway, nearly a metre long). No carp chewed open this freshwater mussel though.

Paddling on.

You can see the damage the absence of willows creates!

The river has become wider.

Towards the end of the trip there were a couple of Grade 2 rapids, which we checked out before we committed ourselves. This one was OK, but another we portaged. there is no sense in getting yourself injured so far from help - and we are here for a good time.

After five hours we came to the (first of) the Surprise rapids. There are several in quick succession. I reckoned I could get down this one safely. Della demurred, so next day we portaged all of them (there is an old pack track) on the right bank.

Thre is a long languorous deep pool upstream the 'Surprise', a pleasant harbour and a shady spot to rest. We pitched our tent on a little flat about three metres just behind me to my right.

The residents began to come to check us out. Here is a wood duck. Then a giant carp began to repeatedly broach in the deep pool. I tried for an hour to snap a photo of him but to no avail.

You can see how close our tent was to the water. It was a lovely camp. The water was warm enough for a bath (as on the first night). The ground was soft and flat. We enjoyed a pleasant night's rest in the wild.

I went for a little walk back along the river for a couple of kilometres (there are substantial clearings all along it). I saw two does and a stag - again they departed too quickly to get a photo. Della utilised part of one of their relatives to make a 'Clan of the Cave Bear Mask'. Here, she is one of the 'People of the Deer'. Well, she is a dear person anyway to come with me on these wild adventures!

28/01/2017: We have an epidemic of husband beating again today, but no-one calls for action;

28/01/2017: ‘The face that must have lunched on a thousand chips…how can we waste our compassion on someone who is responsible for her own misfortune? Are there not enough people in the world who are victims of misfortune, injustice and cruelty for us not to bother with those whose misery is self-inflicted?’

27/01/2017: Wonnangatta: Waterford to Angusvale Day One: This is a truly wonderful section of the river. One of Australia's greatest treasures and one of our last wild rivers! It took us fourteen hours (paddling and portaging) to make it from Meyers Flat (15 minutes below Waterford by canoe - but easier to put in) to the first take-out point at Angusvale. The car/bike shuttle took 50 minutes each way. We began the trip when the Waterford river height was 1.72 metres and finished it at 1.67 so would confidently say it would be fine at 1.65, probably even good at 1.6 with a few portages over pebble races. If you wonder whether you too can do this trip, may I remind you we are both retirees.

This is our rig. We spent the first night in the camper. I have arranged a simple drop-in frame which carries the motorbike on one side of our 6 x 4 trailer and the two canoes on the other. I will perfect this and do a separate post about it


We begin the journey.

Many beautiful European trees in this first third.

The first two days were all just pebble races or Grade 1+ rapids. Really enjoyable. We never had to get out of the boats.

A heron watches us pass. The birdlife on the river is rich and varied. Unfortunately it is not possible to get very good photographs with a waterproof pocket camera.

Cobbanah Creek confluence about half an hour in. It would be easy to put in here. there is also a lovely car camping spot. The dogs enjoy playing in the sand.

Leaving the Cobbanah Creek confluence.

Just cruising.

A splendid long race.

Lots of fun Grade 1 rapids.

These wood ducks were playing 'hide the duckling'.

Some willows needed here.

Spot keeps a close check on Della's progress. Tiny is just' grocking'!

These relict brachychitons (kurrajongs) are a feature of the river (as are bee-eaters!)

Spot wondering whether Della is going to ever make it down this easy race. Here she comes.

The Dargo River confluence, lunch stop for us on a beautiful beach. The willow haters have been at work here.

Della powers along.

Spot surveys with distaste the kilometres of dead willows and wonders, 'Why?'

We usually approached complex rapids (eg this one with its many rocks) carefully, even getting out to check whether it was safe if necessary. This one is fine.

A pair of blue cranes sombrely watch us pass.

A dead tree kangaroo. Possibly a victim of the willow spray!

Just so many beautiful, easy sections of river. You could go to sleep. But don't!

This old-timer had a delightful garden. A good crop of prickly pears there. For the first 5-6 hours there are occasional patches of private land interspersed with bush on either side of the river.

Lichen has taken a lot of trouble to paint these cliffs. The deer are keeping the grass well mown.

I had stopped to look at something when Tiny (faintly) saw Della go past. Thinking she had been abandoned our 17 year old heroine Jack Russell (centre) swam clear across this mighty river to 'save' Della. Six hours in. Time to make camp, perhaps.

And what a delightful river bank camp it is. This is my 'Honey I Shrank' tent ( Della enjoys a well-deserved cuppa. Spot keeps her company. Tiny hits her bed. I quite agree with Ratty, 'There is simply nothing quite like messing about in boats'!

Right behind our camp (<20 yards away) there was this monstrous wallow, so you can be sure we were serenaded by sambar by moonlight! No cast antlers found unfortunately!

See Also:

Section 1:

Section 2:

Section 3:

27/01/2017: You thought ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was pure fantasy:

27/01/2017: Dawn, Surprise Rapid, Wonnangatta River, Australia Day 2017:

27/01/2017: One of the most striking features of these photos is the pride the homesteaders show:


Christman Sisters, Sod Shanty on the Plains.

27/01/2017: Trump really can pick smart women:

27/01/2017: The end of Malcolm’s refugee deal with Obama. (Trump will get things done!):

27/01/2017: A trip to the Upper Yarra in 1907, camping near McVeigh's:


‘On the morning of the 9th inst. a party of seven, consisting of a councillor (hereafter called " The General"), his two sons (" The Farrier" and "The Baker"), a local chemist (" Dr. Pills") and* his son (" Norme"), a contractor known as "The Champion" (tea drinker), and the son of one of Kew's oldest councillors (known as "Captain Moonlight"), left Kew at 8 P.m. with a caravan drawn by two small horses, and two bicycles, en route to the falls at the source of the Yarra River.

Brushy Creek (16 miles) was reached, and a halt was made for lunch, thence through Lilydale to Worri Yallock (32 miles), where the camp was pitched for the night. Fishing was indulged in at night and shooting in the morning.

January 10 -A start was made at 8.30, but at Oak Hill (a few miles further on) the hames broke, and a .new pair had to be purchased. Another start was proposed, but one of the horses objected; consequently, the services of a draught horse were called into requisition, and the whole caravan was safely towed up to the top of this steep hill. Launching Place was reached at 11.30, where the midday meal was disposed of. One thirty to 2 p.m. was occupied in covering the distance to Yarra Junction, where a halt was made until 4 30 p.m. There negotiations were made for the hire of a pair of heavier horses, which were secured at the exorbitant (save the mark !) fee of 10s per day for two horses, a driver, and the keep of the horses. The party then pushed on to the Little Yarra and camped for the night, and were joined at 9 p.m. by "The Measurer."

January 11 -We were met by the driver with the two hired horses, and a start was made at 7.40 a.m., and we passed through Old Warburton, the new township of Hillgrove, and thence along the banks of the Yarra to Warburton itself, the present terminus of the railway extension into this part of the state. The scenery here and further along the route is best described by the word, " Grand "- grandeur everywhere. From this point almost to the furthest point of our journey we have the beautiful ever-flowing rapid waters of the Yarra on our left, and steep, precipitous mountains on our right, lifting their heads up into the clouds.

Here and there bridges have been thrown across the river to connect the settlers on the far side of the river with civilisation on this. The whole scene is picturesque. The timber trade with this railway station is enormous - timber trains are sprung upon you at nearly every turn of the road, and the cartage from outlying districts by bullock wagons has cut the roads up terribly. For the past two years (so we were informed, and we could readily believe it) no attempt at repairs has been made. The consequence is that from this point onwards you have to keep your eyes open continuously for large holes and deep ruts. The balance of the roadway is covered inches deep in dust.

Having laid in a further supply of provisions, we pushed on to Sunnydale (3 miles), where we camped for dinner. This spot is as pleasant a one as the eye could rest upon. The river is almost horse-shoe shape, the soil is of a chocolate volcanic origin, planted with English grasses, and the cattle grazing thereon were in prime condition. The beautiful green tinge of the grass, contrasted very strongly with the brown, sunburnt, natural grasses hitherto met with. Having refreshed the inner man and consoled ourselves with a game of crib, we set out for Starvation Creek, where we purposed camping for the night.

Some three miles short of our destination we were overtaken by two young men on rather flash horses, from whom we made enquiries as to the distance yet to be covered. They were as deficient in knowledge of the locality (if not more so) as we were ourselves. At the conclusion of our inquiries our "corner man"- mounted on his white charger, wearing blue dungarees and leggings, minus a coat, shirt-sleeves rolled up, and hat well drawn down over his eyes - asked, in sonorous tones, " Have you got any money?" The elder youth laughed, but the younger lad's face blanched, and he edged his horse away quick and lively. Thereafter our corner man was known as "Captain Moonlight."

Starvation Creek was reached about 6 p.m., and immediately on passing over the bridge your eyes were drawn to a signboard affixed to a tree, bearing the name, "Starvation Creek" Fastened on to the sign-board was the dry thigh-bone of a bullock, indicative of miners' results in fossicking for gold at that place. We pitched our camp on the flat, and, after tea, went fishing.

At 10 30, when the last of us were retiring for the night, we were attracted by the sound of bullock teams approaching, and, shortly afterwards, two wagons, loaded with 1500 palings each, and drawn by 16 and 14 bullocks respectively, hove in sight. Here, also, the drivers camped for the night, the bullocks being let loose (each with a bell round its neck) to forage as best they may. The bullock drivers had been at work since 5 a.m. They made their bed on some dozen bags of chaff, under a tarpaulin covering, which had been left there by Mr Buller, of the store at McMahon's Creek, three miles further on. Mr Buller is accustomed to leaving half his load at this point on account of the steep hill between Starvation Creek and McMahon's Creek, and so great is the code of honesty in this part that he has never been known to lose a bag.

January 12 -Up at 5.30 a m., our usual hour, and after bathing, breakfast, and repairing punctured bicycle tyres, the two cyclists covered the three miles to McMahon's Creek in 25 minutes, notwithstanding the hills and dust. The peculiarity of this dust, viz., powdered schist rock was that no matter, what its depth you could always ride through it. A similar depth of dust around Kew would invariably bring you to a stand still. At Mr Buller's store at McMahon's Creek we laid in our stock of provisions, as this was the last store on our road, and we had still 26 miles to go and return before replenishing the larder.

By 12.30 we reached the old mining town of Reefton (which now consists of two houses), and camped for dinner. Whilst the meat, potatoes, and onions were cooking in the camp oven we adjourned to the river for a swim, but, so strong was the current, that not one of us could make any headway against the stream, and those who swam across made a decided diagonal course. Whilst at dinner, two cyclists rode up. They were the sons of Councillor Wilson, of the Lilydale shire, and were on their way to the Yarra Falls. Their tents, &c., had gone ahead of them in the coach. They had heard of us along the road, and had been keeping their weather eye open. We asked them to join our party, which they readily agreed to do, and right good campmates they were. The elder one is at the training college in Melbourne, and expects during this year to put in a portion of his time under our worthy friend, Mr McCrae, at the Kew East school.

McVeigh's hotel, at Walsh's Creek, was reached at 5 p.m., and our camp was pitched about a quarter of a mile beyond his house, at the junction of the Wood's Point and Clear Creek roads. Owing to the kindness of Mr McVeigh, five of our number (now increased to 11) were able to sleep in a tent he has had permanently erected on the roadside on a wooden floor, and under a bark roof instead of a fly. Here we met Jimmy Clark, the man who cut the track to the Falls, and received full instructions as to the route to be taken.

Here two curious incidents were noted. The whole of this portion of the country has been permanently reserved for future water supply purposes for Melbourne, yet Mr McVeigh has the pick of the land, and has erected a large hotel. He has been resident there for nine years, and his house is the only one for miles around. The other incident is a printed notice of the Education Department re "compulsory attendance at school." The youngest resident is the proprietor's daughter (about 22 summers), and the nearest state school is a single-roomed paling dwelling fully half way to Warburton.

January 13 -After an early breakfast we started to pack our four horses in a peculiarly up-to-date style of our own, and just before starting, at 10.55, a photo was taken of the turnout. It will be interesting to see how they develop. From this point to the Falls Creek (16 miles) a pack track is followed, which for the most part skirts the Yarra. It is good solid plugging following this track up hill and down dale. At first the four horses were led, but "The General" soon became full of "Captain Moonlight's" charger, and practised his 'prentice  hand at bullock driving, and was successful in soon reducing his steed to a worthy pack-horse.

At 2.10 (7 miles) we reached Contention Camp (Bromley's Reef Goldmine), but of this you shall hear more later on. After dinner we caught a few fish, and then pushed on with the intention of camping at Fall's Creek, but at Poverty Bend (3 miles short) we were blocked by fallen timber and had to camp for the night on the track. Bed was sought at 9 p.m. About 11.30 p m. one of our number was awakened by a crashing sound, and on investigation it was found that one of the horses had got loose and had fallen off the track. All hands turned out, and until 2 am axes and tomahawks were used in cutting away timber to free the poor brute, who was jammed between two saplings, with his feet hanging over the creek.

After two and a-half hours' solid graft we were able to pull the horse clear and roll him into the creek, about 2ft. deep. Then "The General" and "The Champion," with lantern and axe, proceeded to lead the horse along the bed of the creek to the crossing, about 200 yards up, but being blocked by fallen timber, tethered him on the further bank for the night, and repaired to the camp-fire to dry their boots and socks. A billy of tea was soon brewed, and bed once more sought.

January 14 -A stir was made at 5.15 a.m., and a reconnoitre being made, it was found necessary to cut a zig-zag track up which to lead the horse. The barometer gave the fall of 47ft. down a 1 in 1 slope. At 9.30 a start was made, the horses being left behind with the driver, as the track was blocked. Falls Creek was reached at 10.30, after passing through a forest of beautiful beech trees, the timber previously being black butt and stringy bark. Here we found the brand of Mr A. J. Campbell, of the Mines Department, on a sassafras tree.

Mr Campbell gave the height of the Falls Creek as 1760ft. above sea level. Our barometer gave only 1550ft. From this point there is a steady climb of two miles and a-half up the spur, rising over 1000ft. in that distance. Turning to the right we reached the top of the falls at midday, where we had lunch. Four different photos of the falls were taken. Owing to want of time and shortness of provisions we were unable to climb from the top to the bottom - a distance of 700ft in less than half-a-mile.

The sight was one of exceeding grandeur, double falls, single falls, and cascades following one another in quick succession. The country itself was disappointing-trees there certainly were in plenty, but small plant life was rare. Snow lies on these mountains (2800ft. above sea level) for about eight months of the year. The water which soaks into the schist rock, of which the whole of these mountains are composed, freezes, and, expanding, splits the surface stones along their cleavage planes, thus rendering it exceedingly dangerous when climbing in parties. Once a stone is loosened from its bedding, it thunders down the hill and over the precipices (many of them from 50 to 100ft.), and never ceases until the foot of the falls is reached. One should never die of thirst in this country, but animal and bird life are practically an unknown quantity. At 2.10 p.m. we set out on our return picked up our horses at Poverty Bend at 4.15, had afternoon tea, and pushed on to Bromley's Reef and pitched camp at 7.15.

January 15 - After breakfast, Mr Victor, the manager of the mine, which is the first opened up in this country, very kindly showed us all that there was to be seen. Two reefs have been discovered. No. 1 gave 4580z. from 130 tons; No. 2, about 150ft. west, 17oz from 15 tons. No. 2 is being worked at present. From the side of the hill a tunnel runs 160ft. west, and then the drive turns up north and south along the reef 130ft., which outcrops on the surface 60ft. above. The stone is run out on the trucks, and then sledged down to the 4-head battery worked by waterpower. The cost from first to last works out at 16s. per ton. From the battery a tunnel is being driven on a grade of 4ft. in 100ft. to intercept the No. 1 reef, which outcrops on the surface 670ft south, and has been opened out to a depth of 130ft, showing a reef 2ft. in thickness, carrying good gold the whole way. This tunnel has already been opened out 490ft., and it is expected that in nine weeks the shaft will be reached. Steel rails are being laid for the tram track in this tunnel, and it is the intention to tunnel across to No. reef, which will mean a considerable reduction in working expenses. The mine has been floated into a company of 30,000 shares at 5s. each, half paid up, and today are quoted on the market at 6s. 2d. The Hon. E. Miller is chairman of directors. I believe there is a big future before this district as regards mining. Our camp at McVeigh's was reached at 1.50 pm, and the rest of the day was devoted to fishing.

January 16 - At 10 a.m. a start on the return home was made. We camped for the night at Big Pat's Creek, and reached Little Yarra at 1 pm. on the 17th. There half the party returned by the night train, the remainder visited the Britannia Falls on the 18th, and on the 19th went up the Cockatoo Creek on a fishing expedition, leaving there on the morning of the 22nd, and arriving in Kew at 5 the same evening. All had a thorough good outing, and the event was carried out on strictly teetotal principles.’ Thanks to Thomas Osburg for this account.

23/01/2017: Immigration minister Peter Dutton suggests a new citizenship test for Australian arrivals. At the Daily Telegraph, Rowan Dean is happy to assist.:

23/01/2017: Gun permit holders are only 1/20th as likely to commit an offence as the general population. Why doesn't this surprise me?

23/01/2017: It’s nice that America sometimes remembers us. I hope we still remember us:

22/01/2017: Death Cults: The trouble with cults is they attract adherents and imitators. The Melbourne Mall terrorist self-identified as Islamic. We will have more and more of this horrific violence until we cry, ‘Enough’ and choose to do something about it. A phased, civilised forced emigration of all Moslems out of the country is the best way forward. The other way forward is simply to do nothing, allow their numbers to increase to the point where we have what will be in effect a full-scale civil war on our hands (perhaps in as little as twenty years from now) which will continue until they are eliminated and tens of thousands of people lose their lives. There is no benefit to the second course – and there is no alternative. These leopards will not change their spots!

22/01/2017: If you have ever wondered whether you have a twin somewhere…can two snowflakes be identical:

22/01/2017: Yarra River Photo Survey: The man creating a Google Street View:

Not the muddy brown city Yarra: Christian Taylor with his camera affixed to his backpack (above his head) in the upper ...

22/01/2017: From 1925: The Baw Baw Track: Notes of a Recent Visit By R. H. Croll: This is the track on which so many novices metaphorically lay their bones. For some reason it has caught the popular fancy, with the result that the budding walker, in all the discomfort of improper equipment, frequently makes it his first, and last, essay with the swag. He brings back a tale of trying tracks, of steep gradients, and bleak uplands, often in curious contrast with the accounts of more seasoned trampers.

Freemans Flat between Mts Baw Baw & St Phillack

The truth is that few of the 50 miles between Walsh's Creek (McVeigh's) on the Upper Yarra and the railhead at Walhalla-the 50 miles which constitute the so-called "Baw Baw Track" are easy miles, but they are well within the compass of any pedestrian who is capable of' carrying a 30 pound pack up a fairly graded hill, or has the means to hire a packhorse to do it for him. In other words, the way is open to all who are young, and to any whose maturity has really benefited by experience of such outings. It is time indeed that someone spoke plainly regarding the nonsense so commonly printed that the swag is a destroyer of all pleasure on a country tour.

I bear fardels as unwillingly as the next man, and I recognise the obvious fact that it ii easier and more enjoyable to walk free than loaded, but I protest that the pain of carrying one's bed and board are a very small charge (in this world where everything has its price) for the perfect liberty so gained, and that no one need divorce himself from pleasure in doing so.

The Baw Baw track is so named because at its most picturesque stage it traverses the Baw Baw Plateau and gives cosy access, by it side walk of about a mile and a quarter, to the 5,130ft. summit of Mount Baw Baw itself. Three natural divisions mark the route, the first being the stage up the Yarra Valley - a long, slow rise, the next the irregular, but relatively level going of the uplands, the third the rapid descent into Walhalla.

With the commencement of the bridle track at McVeigh's the way is truly the walkers. For nearly 10 miles it is a sidling pad winding just above and always within sight, or at least sound, of the Yarra, here a bubbling stream running at the foot of a steadily deepening valley. Higher and higher grow the hills, well clothed, particularly on the right bank, with tall timber and luxuriant shrubs. The slopes above the river look primeval and untrodden. But the trail is an old one, as old as the early mining rushes, and doubtless those resolute pioneers, the diggers, left little even of this hilly country unexplored in their search for gold. A reminder of the period is the unusual blaze on the timber a T, to signify the Tanjil track.

Just before the 15-mile post, shown in red on a tree two huts come into the picture. Each is of iron, and each is well constructed to meet the needs of tourists, it being understood that these bring their own food and bedding. The newer structure has a cement chimney and cement floor, a couple of large windows, a table, a form, and some boxes for seats, half a dozen billies, a frying-pan, a bucket, an axe, a broom, four stretchers, with spring mattresses (and there are as many more in the neighbouring hut) and about a dozen mugs and plates. There are two rooms available for visitors, the space, over all, being about 50ft. by 11ft. The old hut is much smaller, but is weatherproof, and at least a shelter in rough weather.

On Falls Creek, which, joins the main stream at this point, six picturesque waterfalls occur within a mile and a half of the camping-ground, They are readily accessible, the track to the main fall (the first) being in good order and of on easy grade. The other five take a little more climbing to see. The second stage of the onward journey opens badly with a determined zigzag which joins on to the lower end of a mile-long spur.

As you climb, the Yarra valley recedes on your left flank; below, on the right, are glimpses of the Falls Creek. The timber is large mountain ash in the main mingled with fine samples of silvertop, and later, woollybutt. In the season long lanes of Christmas bush are flowering here. Some groves of beech through which the track winds suggest a stage setting of fairy land in their still beauty. The variety is endless, now a group of giant gums, now beech or wattle groves, now a young forest, here a marshy spot, there a sparkling stream with its sands aglitter with "new chum gold ' always and ever something to attract and hold the attention.

Fourteen miles of this including the first crossing of the Thomson River, and the hut on Mount Whitelaw is in sight. It is not a pre-possessing structure but it has a fireplace and will be sound enough when some repairs now under way are completed. A new hut is being built close by. The usual supplies of billies, mugs, plates, and stretchers are here. On a cold and threatening evening, this situation repels, for the outlook is over stunted snowbush, mostly dead, and is limited by a ring of undistinguished hills. Water is handy and this hut marks a definite stage on the journey.

The fact that the next hut, that on the Talbot Peak of Mount Erica, is only eight miles away should be appreciated for two reasons. The negative one is that there is much morass to cross, which means slow progress; the positive and important one is that there is so much to see. A day is all too short in which to do justice to this section and the surroundings of Mount Erica. Some three miles from Whitelaw a notice-board points out the diversion to the crest of Baw Baw, and time off could well be taken for this side excursion. Over St. Phillack's 5140ft. the pad winds through snowgums or across moorlands with baby lakes reflecting the sky, now up, now down, high hills such is Baw Baw, Mueller, and Tyers rising on the one hand, and on the other St. Gwinear and Kernot. Unlucky is the tourist who now walks into cloud or mist, for the views soon become horizon wide.

The charm of interesting detail gives place to the appeal of great mountains spread as far as sight will carry. That is what one gains from the windows of Talbot hut, for this last and smallest of all the shelter houses is perched on the edge of a great declivity which drops swiftly some four thousand feet. Across the gulf rise endless mountain chains, their scoring valleys clearly indicated in the evening light. Hours may be spent picking out Feathertop and Welington, Ben Cruachan and other giants and speculating over those more difficult of identification, while all the time there sinks into the consciousness the wonderful blues of the high places, the play of light and shadow over unending miles of broken country, the grandeur of lofty peaks and the amazing deeps below them. Speaking as one who has looked from many of the high hills of the State I find this view very difficult to excel.

Now comes the drop to lower levels. The famous descent to Avernus is not swifter than the first three miles when the track begins to dip, which it does directly the point of Erica is passed. In that one league there is a fall of 3,000ft. and in wet weather that can be a true and continuous test of balance. Remarkable rocks are seen, a mill is heard screaming in the forest at the foot of the slide and a bush track leads one by pleasant ways over the 11 1/2 miles into Walhalla, a place well worth visiting in itself, and apparently soon to he numbered with the departed townships. Unless the present ventures revive the gold mining Walhalla in five years may be no more than a blackberry wilderness. Throughout there is no difficulty in following the tracks. They are clearly marked and kept wonderfully free of fallen timber. The department in whose charge they are certainly does its work well.

Thanks to Thomas Osburg, who found this account.

21/01/2017: Trump to cut federal spending 10%, slash federal workers 20%: This is the sort of action we need here to fix our Budget, besides do we need all/any of these pesky overlords:!

21/01/2017: In reply to the ‘Hottest Year Ever’ ‘news’: On 27th Dec 1790 (measured at a location just stones-throw from Observatory Hill) the mercury hit 108.5 F (42.5 C) before peaking at 109 F (42.8 C) . This was BEFORE the Urban Heat Effect (UHI) so go figure how much HOTTER THAT was than today! See (…/global-warming-it-was-warmer-…/) AND (…/a-follow-up-on-the-it-was-wa…/…) You will also notice that our own Cape Otway records (Victoria’s only remote long-term temperature station) shows that 2016 was nearly2 degrees colder than all of its C19th records:

21/01/2017: Ringling Bros. circus to close after 146 years: This is awful news, even more awful as it indicates the Left is winning: 

20/01/2017: A Mongolian Eagle Huntress: What a beautiful mini documentary. Do have a look:

20/01/2017: Secrets of the Yarra: Walsh’s Creek & Yarra Falls: Now underneath the Upper Yarra Dam Walsh’s Creek was once one of the delights of walking the Upper Yarra Track .You can get some idea of how beautiful it once was from these old photos kindly sent to me  by Thomas Osburg. See:

And this was McVeigh’s Hotel at the junction of the Yarra & Walsh’s Creek, a transit stop on the way to the famous Yarra Falls (Victoria;s highest):


And this was what the (now forbidden) Yarra Falls looked like back in 1909 & etc:


Here is a more recent photo of the bottom fall:

This may even be an 1845 painting by Hodddle of the Yarra Falls:

They certaoinly are spectacular waterfalls, deserving to once again become one of Victoria's premier tourist attractions.

And this is an interesting shield of a cycling tour of the Yarra Track in bygone days:

20/01/2017: Quote of the day: Henry Hazlitt’s ‘Marxism in One Minute’:The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. [MP: Or according to our Marxist-in-Chief: "If you’ve got a business — you didn’t bu